Temporary or Interim spousal support is one of the most crucial forms of support a spouse needs in order to get through separation. From the time you start your Notice of Family Claim at the BC Supreme Court or your Application to Obtain an Order in the Provincial Court, you may need to wait between 6 months to several years to have your case heard at trial. During this time, you may need interim or temporary spousal support to be able to support yourself and pay for your expenses when your spouse is no longer there to support you.

Do not be afraid. The Courts recognize a spouse’s need to survive pending his/her trial or settlement. In these circumstances you can apply for interim or temporary spousal support. All you have to do is to:

  1. Make an Application to the Supreme Court for temporary spousal support by often giving your spouse 8 business days’ notice; or
  2. Advance a Notice of Motion at the Provincial Court for interim spousal support by giving your spouse 7 days’ notice.

Obtaining Temporary or Interim Spousal Support

On temporary spousal support Applications, the Court will look at your needs, i.e. you financial needs, on a monthly or annual basis and the ability of your spouse to meet that need. This is determined by looking at your net incomes and doing a calculation to determine how much spousal support you should get per month.

On interim Spousal Support Applications, the Court often uses the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines that do formulated calculations to determine spousal support. The amount of spousal support will depend on:

  1. The length of the marriage or common law relationship;
  2. Whether there are children; and
  3. Incomes of the spouses.

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines provide a range of figures for spousal support: low range, mid-range and high range. Depending on your need to meet your expenses and the 3 items listed above, the Court chooses a range and Orders the amount of interim or temporary spousal support corresponding to that range.

Usually:

  • if the marriage is more than 10 years and there are children involved, the Court will order spousal support at mid-range.
  • If the marriage is for example 30 years and there are a couple children, then the Court will order the high-range of spousal support.
  • If the marriage lasted for a short while and there are no children involved, then the Court will likely order spousal support to be on the low-range.

Do not always expect that the Court will award you the exact amount of your financial needs per month. Your spouse’s ability to pay the requested amount is also taken into consideration. If your spouse has high debts to pay in addition to spousal support, those debts can be taken into consideration and the amount of support may be less because there is only so much money to go around.

Change, Enforce or Obtain Permanent Spousal Support

If you are under-employed or unemployed purposely, then the Court can impute income to you and determine spousal support based on that income. So for example, if you stop working to get as much spousal support as possible, the Court will determine your ability to earn an income and does the spousal support calculations based on that.

At the time of trial and after the court has considered all the evidence, the amount of spousal support may be increased or decreased retroactively or on an ongoing basis. At trial, you obtain orders for permanent spousal support.

After temporary or interim spousal support is ordered, you can apply to change it in certain circumstances. To read more about that, click here.

If your spouse has been ordered to pay you spousal support but isn’t, you can apply to enforce your spousal support. To learn more about this, click here.

To do simple calculations and find out how much you are entitled to, click here.

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