Spousal Support, sometimes referred to as alimony or maintenance, is money that’s paid by one spouse to another after they separate or divorce. Its purpose is to limit any unfair effects of a divorce. For example, perhaps one spouse dedicated the majority of their time to the family (stay at home parent, part-time work, etc.) and needs more time to develop a career now that they’re on their own.
Another example – if one spouse makes a lot less money than the other spouse, Spousal Support may be used to help that spouse continue living life to the standard set during the marriage. However, a court may actually decide that the spouse with the lower income is not entitled to extra money, if they see that the income had not impacted anything during the relationship.
The amount and duration of Spousal Support is decided by either the couple or the court, and many factors are considered during the process. Some include:
Each spouse’s financial means, assets, and positions
The length of the marriage
If children are involved,
Money advanced to a married person by a family member often becomes the subject of controversy in family law litigation. For example, it is not uncommon for parents to advance money to their adult child in order to help fund the down payment of a home for the adult child and his or her spouse. Invariably in these situations where the parties later separate, the recipient of the money takes the position the advance was a loan, while the other spouse takes the position it was a gift. The characterization of the money advanced has important implications with respect to the calculation of the recipient’s net family property calculation and equalization payment.
Fortunately, the recent decision of Barber v. Magee, 2015 ONSC 8054 (Ont. S.C.J.) by Fitzpatrick J. of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice provides a fulsome overview of leading authorities on this issue and sets out a concise list of the factors to be considered in determining whether the funds advanced are to be considered a gift or a loan, including