Permanent BC spousal support is granted at the time of the trial of your family law case. It determines 1) how much and 2) how long spousal support will be provided.

Permanent spousal support in long and traditional marriage may mean that you may have to pay your ex-spouse indefinitely or until you retire or die. In cases where your spouse actually had an affair and left the relationship, having to pay them money per month and indefinitely can be a very tough pill to swallow.

We get a lot of inquiries from men and women asking whether they would have to pay spousal support if their spouse had an affair or left the relationship. Fortunately or unfortunately, Canada has the “no fault system” which mandates spousal support to be payable regardless of the conduct of the spouse.

Spousal support is mostly based on incomes and the length of marriage. The bigger the disparity between incomes and the longer the marriage, the more spousal support will be payable.

The Amount of BC Spousal Support

The courts usually use the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines to determine spousal support. Please note the following points:

  1. The Guidelines have 3 different ranges: the low range, the mid-range and the high range.
  2. The low range is awarded in situations where there are no kids and the length of the marriage or cohabitation is relatively short.
  3. The mid-range is awarded in most circumstances and when a marriage is longer than 10 years and there are children involved.
  4. The high-range is rarely granted and in situations where for example one spouse is very old, disabled and forever unable to obtain meaningful employment.

Usually if there are children involved, all ranges of spousal support are higher than if there are no children involved.

There are some exceptions to the Court granting spousal support as per the Guidelines. These include unusual circumstances such as one spouse having unusually high debts and not able to pay spousal support based on his/her income.

The Length of BC Spousal Support

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines usually say that the length of paying spousal support ranges between .5 years for each year of marriage/cohabitation to 1 year for each year of same.

In many circumstances, the court Orders a review of spousal support after a certain amount of years rather than ordering many years of support from the get-go. There are many complicated factors that play when the Court tries to determine the amount and length of spousal support.

Lump Sum Spousal Support

In many cases that settle, litigants just want to move on and not be stuck with having to pay their ex-spouse monthly and for sometimes the rest of their lives. For this reason, many individuals will agree to pay lump sum spousal support.

Lump sum spousal support is a one-time payment of spousal support to the spouse in exchange for that spouse never coming back for spousal support and moving on. The amount is usually high but it gives one the assurance that his/her spouse will never come back and ask for more money.

The receiving spouse also benefits from lump sum spousal support because he/she can take that money and invest it somewhere or buy a property with it and earn interest on it rather than having to wait each month to get paid or be dependent on his/her ex-spouse.

Courts order lump sum spousal support in situations where there is a risk that the paying spouse may flee the country and never pay, or if the court has evidence that in the past the spouse has breached court orders and hasn’t fully paid spousal support.

BC Spousal Support is a very complicated issue and can cost one a fortune. It is best to consult with a family lawyer to fully know your rights and the best way to approach this subject. Contact our award winning firm at 604-974-9529 for a consultation!



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