Spousal support is the money paid by one spouse to the other when a relationship ends. Either spouse may be eligible to receive spousal support. But spouses are not automatically legally entitled to spousal support.
When a relationship ends, one spouse may face financial disadvantages as a result of the separation. Spousal support is designed to ensure that neither spouse faces economic hardship.
Spousal support helps each spouse become financially independent within a reasonable amount of time.
Spousal support is owed to the spouse that is financially disadvantaged by the relationship or by the end of the relationship by the other spouse.
When the following factors are present, judges are more likely to order for spousal support:
The SSAG provides informal guidelines that can help applicants calculate the range of spousal support that they might be able to receive. The SSAG is not mandatory. Spousal support awarded, or agreed to, can be below or above the amounts in the SAGG, but courts will generally follow the guidelines when awarding spousal support.
Generally, periodic spousal support payments are tax deductible for the payor and taxable income for the recipient. To claim spousal support payments as a tax deduction, the order or agreement must clearly state that the payments are for spousal support and the payments must be periodic in nature. Lump sum payments are neither tax deductible nor taxable income.
If you have a pre-marital, marriage or cohabitation agreement be sure to know what it says about spousal support. These agreements can limit your entitlement to spousal support. If you signed an agreement that waives your right to spousal support you won’t be able to claim it without showing the agreement is invalid. Consult a lawyer if you have concerns about these agreements.
To determine spousal support you will need to share detailed documents showing your income, assets, and debt.
A good place to start in determining spousal support is seeing how much would be owed under SAGG.
Use ‘My Support Calculator’ to help determine your spousal support calculations.
Go to the My Support Calculator website.
Although the figure given for spousal support is a suggestion, it is likely close to what a court may order if there are no other circumstances that would alter a judge’s mind.
Remember there is no specific amount that is legally required, so you are able to come to an agreement on your own that may differ from the calculated amount. But of course, you both have to be willing to enter into such an agreement. The amount provided by the calculator is a good starting point for what amount is generally awarded.
Exchange the last 3 years of income with your former spouse. If you are making a court application for spousal support, financial disclosure would be mandatory.
Once you have agreed to an amount of spousal support, you must also decide how the support will be paid. For instance, one couple may agree to pay spousal support all at once, while another might agree to pay in monthly installments for a set period of time.
Types of Spousal payments:
Speak to a financial advisor or an accountant to discuss how spousal support affects your tax obligations.
Regardless of the type of payments that are to be made, there are some details that should be worked out when you make an agreement.
Take a moment to fill in the Spousal Support Worksheet before you move on to the next section.