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How to Avoid Paying Spousal Support


When two people decide to separate or divorce, they are already in a highly unequal state. In such situations, paying for spousal support becomes a big issue, along with other paperwork. It can cause severe financial stress.

The pressure comes from people who are financially more stable. It becomes a threat to the person forced by the court. The person can be both a man and a woman, though men are mostly entitled to pay spousal support.

Possibly, that’s why men often quit their job before the divorce process to avoid it. So, how to avoid paying spousal support? Here we’ll discuss a few strategies and legal ways to avoid paying spousal support. There you go.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support is also called alimony or maintenance. Spousal support is money one spouse may need to pay to the other after they separate or get divorced. It’s meant to help the lower-earning spouse financially, especially if they relied on the higher-earning spouse during the marriage.

The purpose is to make sure both spouses can maintain a reasonable standard of living after the separation. The amount and duration of spousal support can vary based on factors like the length of the marriage and each spouse’s financial situation.

It’s a legal obligation for a person to pay spousal support to another partner as a legal right. The person who gets the support is known as the support recipient. And the person who pays the support is called the support payor.

So, who pays spousal support?

The partner who has a comparatively higher income than the other partner is asked to pay the alimony. What amount has to be paid is governed by state law. The lawyers and judges follow some guidelines to fix the amount and the duration as well.

The court looks at a few things while deciding whether the support will be provided or not. Also, how much should be provided? For example,

  • The duration of their marriage
  • Earning capacity of both parties
  • Current income of both
  • The standards of living during their married life
  • Any health or age issue
  • The requirements of both parties.

The goal of spousal support is to:

  • Identify each partner’s contribution to their marriage.
  • Ensure that each partner can live the same as before their divorce.
  • Help the partner who lost financially during their marriage by leaving a career and taking care of the child.
  • Distribute the expenses for the children. (If any)
  • Help another partner with a low income to support themselves.

This responsibility doesn’t come automatically. A partner has asked for it legally through family law professionals. The Regina Family Law Firm can help you get spousal support. However, it can be avoided if both partners mutually agree.

Types of Spousal Support

Spousal support can be of three types. Though the purpose is the same for all, the duration and type of support differ for each.

  • Transitional support is a type to assist the partner with lower earnings to improve his or her earning skills through education or training.
  • Maintenance Support is designed to help the partner maintain the lifestyle he or she used to live.
  • Compensatory support intends to repay the partner for something the other partner was able to achieve through the support of their marriage.

How to Avoid Paying Spousal Support?

Right after the divorce, when you are newly single, a whole lot of things change in your life. You may have to compromise with your lifestyle and monthly budget. On top of that, those alimony causes strain on your finance.

To avoid spousal support, some people lie to avoid spousal support. You can avoid paying it without following any cheap tactics. There are a few legal ways to avoid paying court-ordered spousal support.

  • Ask For Help from a Lawyer

The smart move is to get help from an experienced spousal support lawyer. A lawyer can help you find the best financial outcome for different alimony scenarios. Also, he can help you negotiate with your spouse logically.

The lawyer may assess your financial situation and review documents. So you can present a fair picture of the court. Try to avoid any inexperienced lawyer who has little expertise in family law.

  • Negotiate Intelligently With Your Partner

Another way is to discuss with the partner intelligently. You may tell about a specific alimony number that you can afford. Also, you can use diligence, like when your partner may accept a property settlement instead of spousal support.

Tell the partner that you are ready to give a massive percentage of marital assets. If you have any marital debt, inform your partner of it. That’s because the tax burden may reduce the amount of alimony. If you and your spouse agree on a few facts, these can save both time and money.

  • Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements

Based on whether you are married or not, you can ask for a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. It should happen before getting divorced. This agreement usually states what will happen if you divorce.

You can place a direct order in the agreement to avoid paying for spousal support. Note that prenuptial agreements can be changed in court at any time.

  • Cookie-Cutter Settlements

There is a thing called cookie-cutter settlements. It states that assets and debts will be divided equally among partners. After that, one partner with a higher income will pay the other partner.

If the payor partner has more debt than the recipient partner, it will affect the payor partner’s net income. In such cases, negotiation helps to minimize the alimony.

  • Short Marriage

Sometimes you can sort things out before getting divorced. If you are unhappy in your marriage and thinking of divorce, do it immediately. Remember, the duration of marriage also determines the amount of payable alimony.

In a longer marriage, there is a considerable amount to pay to the support recipient. The longer the marriage, the bigger the amount. So, if you are sure about the divorce, act smartly and do it quickly. Only this can help you avoid paying a higher amount.

  • Ask for a Support Modification

If the court has already ordered spousal support, you can still ask for modification. Sometimes, with proper documental support, you can abandon spousal support. The smart decision is to do it at the right time.

For example, if your partner remarries, you may ask for the complete elimination of alimony. This is also applicable when your partner lives with someone else. Also, if you confront a massive loss in your income, you may ask for the adjustment of the alimony.

How to Avoid Paying Spousal Support When the Supported Partner Refuses to Work

Even after having the capability and opportunity, what to do if the supported partner refuses to work? The vocational examination is a solution to this. You can ask the court to evaluate the skill of your partner by a vocational examiner.

Once the court orders it, a vocational examiner will evaluate the partner’s earning capability. The examiner will tell the court whether the partner can earn or not. Then, the examiner provides an assessment.

If the court agrees with the examiner, they can assign income to the partner. This somehow minimizes the burden of spousal support.

How to Avoid Paying Spousal Support When the Supported Partner Do Not Need

Sometimes the support recipient does not need the alimony; still, the support payor partner has to pay. You are possibly wondering how to know whether the partner needs it or not.

As a support partner, you are spending on the expenses of your ex-partner. That partner may be the wage earner during the marriage and can pay the spousal support.

Otherwise, the family member of the alimony-seeking partner can pay for expenses. Whatever you are paying is not a necessity for the alimony-seeking partner. In such situations, you can avoid paying for spousal support.

Factors That Affect Spousal Support

According to the court decision, the partner with a higher income has to pay spousal support. Yet, some factors affect the ability to continue the support. These factors can change or stop spousal support payments.

  • Employment Loss: If the support partner loses his or her job, the court might order a temporary suspension of the alimony. The court may consider the reasons behind the loss of employment and further opportunities.
  • Health: It is another factor that can vary or terminate spousal support payments. If the support payor becomes ill or got an accident, so may not be able to work. By keeping this in mind, the court may consider alimony.
  • Changes in Income: If the support recipient partner gets employed and starts earning higher than before, the alimony amount may be changed. The court wants everyone to become self-sufficient.
  • Retirement: Retirement brings enormous changes in life as one has to live within a limited budget. In such a case, the support payor may not be able to pay the support like before. In such situations, the court may terminate the spousal support order.
  • Re-marriage: This is another case when an order for spousal support can be changed or terminated. If the partner remarries, you’ll no longer be responsible for his or her expenses.


Still wondering how to avoid paying spousal support?

It’s about understanding all the facts and facets of what you can do. Act smartly and take your issues to court. There is a solution to everything, so do not worry and live your life to the fullest.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is spousal support negotiable?

Yes, spousal support is often negotiable between the spouses or their lawyers. They can agree on the amount and duration that work for both parties.

Can my ex refuse to pay spousal support?

Technically, yes, but there are legal consequences for not complying with a spousal support order. The paying spouse should seek a legal modification if they face financial challenges.

What is the average spousal support in Canada?

There's no fixed average, as it depends on various factors like income and the length of the marriage. Courts consider these factors to determine a fair spousal support amount.

Do I have to support my wife after divorce?

Depending on the circumstances, you might be required to pay spousal support. The court considers factors like the length of the marriage and each spouse's financial situation when making such decisions.

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