Spousal support or alimony – whatever you name it, is paid to the former spouse who is not earning. The higher-earning spouse pays it after the divorce is finalized. However, it is also true that spousal support can cause severe financial stress.
That’s why sufferers are looking for ways to not pay spousal support in Canada? And, that’s fair enough. Just being single and living on a single income has already made a big difference in your lifestyle.
A lot of change has been made in your monthly budget as well. Meanwhile, paying for your ex-spouse can be burdensome. Some people usually do something sneaky to avoid spousal support, like clever plans.
This can be tempting. But it is also important that you approach the issue with care, concern, and ethics. So you can avoid any legal consequences. As a result, your chance of applying to the court for not paying spousal support remains.
What is Spousal Support?
Spousal support is the financial support given by a higher-earning spouse to other spouses once the marriage ends. The purpose of supposal support is to reduce financial inequality between ex-spouses. Spousal support helps transform a dependent person into a self-sufficient one without financial hardship.
Who is Entitled to Spousal Support in Canada?
Spousal support is not an automatic right related to the marriage breakdown. Still, according to the Family Law Act, a spouse may be entitled to spousal support if he or she was;
- Lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years
- We were in a marriage-like relationship for less than two years and had a child together
The Supreme Court of Canada has listed three grounds that are required to establish an entitlement to spousal support.
- Compensatory Support – Compensation for loss of spouse’s hardship or opportunity due to marriage or its breakdown. E.g., during the marriage, the responsibilities have prevented the asking spouse from building a career.
- Contractual Support – A legal agreement states you will get spousal support if you separate. If this exists, the other spouse has to pay the spousal support.
- Non-compensatory Support – Assisting a spouse in need when the other spouse has enough income to pay, even in the absence of a contractual.
The court considers these factors, including other factors like age, health, and childcare necessities.
Do I Have to Pay Spousal Support?
Like the obligation to support a child, there is no definite obligation that one spouse must support the other. Hence, negotiating on spousal support is allowed and, in fact, encouraged.
But do you have to pay spousal support during a separation? The answer depends on the circumstances of marriage and divorce. Still, in a marriage-like relationship, there is a possibility that you may have paid spousal support when the relationship ends. Also, You can talk to a lawyer to help you understand what the law says about spousal support.
How to Not Pay Spousal Support in Canada?
If the marriage and divorce conditions fall within specific parameters, avoiding spousal support is viable. The following are a few ways you can try to avoid spousal support.
Sign a Cohabitation Agreement or a Marriage Agreement
The cohabitation agreement applies when you’re not planning to get married, while the marriage agreement is when you’re getting married. If you really want to avoid spousal support, start preparation at the beginning of your relationship.
Sign any of these agreements (that applies to your relationship). According to the agreement, both of you give up the right to claim spousal support when the relationship ends.
N.B. This agreement must be fair during both the time of execution and when it starts to apply.
Do Not Let Your Spouse Financially Dependent
A little awareness can save you from paying for spousal support during the relationship. You can allow your spouse to become financially dependent or guard against causing it. Make sure your spouse never leaves the paid work.
If you have a child, try to be at home to take care of the baby while your spouse work. Also, make sure your spouse returns to work as soon as possible but do it humanly.
You can also assure that your spouse never sacrifices any opportunity while taking care of the family. Spousal support becomes inevitable when one spouse remains in a financial hardship compared to another spouse.
If the end of a relationship leaves one spouse at a financial disadvantage, spousal support may be payable. Spousal support needs to be paid if there is a difference in the financial situation between both parties.
Appeal for a Vocational Evaluation
If you can establish that your ex-spouse does not need spousal support, you may avoid paying it. For example, if the recipient spouse has good qualifications to get a higher-paying job but intentionally does a part-time job with a low wage. You can appeal to the court to carry out a vocational evaluation in such cases.
Request Modification of Termination of Alimony Payment
In the Divorce Act, the verdict of permanent payment of alimony can be reviewed or terminated. However, there is no specific date for the alimony payment termination.
You can demand modification if your former spouse marries again or starts to live with another partner. Then, you may request the court to cancel the payment.
When Your Marries Lasts for a Short Period
Some former spouses think they are automatically entitled to spousal support when the relationship ends. But in reality, it somewhat depends on the duration of the marriage. If the marriage lasts for a short period, the alimony can be terminated.
Downgrade Your Income
Divorce brings a lot of changes in a person’s life, both mentally and financially. As a higher-earning spouse, you are entitled to pay for spousal support. However, if you somehow manage to change your lifestyle, there is still hope.
You’ll need to submit a request to alter with your local family court to start judicial proceedings to end spousal support. This typically needs the services of a lawyer.
You’ll have to explain to the judge why you believe spousal support should be terminated due to a major change in circumstances
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I avoid paying alimony in Canada?
In Canada, spousal support is not automatic as child support. So there are ways to get out of paying for spousal support. We have already mentioned above a few tactics to avoid paying spousal support. You can follow them.
2. How can I avoid spousal support?
The spousal support is generally calculated depending on two significant factors; • The earnings of the asking spouse • The earnings of the paying spouse If you earn less than your asking spouse, you may be able to avoid paying for spousal support. Also, considering the ways mentioned above, you can avoid spousal support.
3. Is spousal support mandatory in Canada?
Spousal support is not ordered in every divorce in Canada, and hence, it's not automatic. Yet, a spouse can ask for spousal support. A judge will review the plea for spousal support depending on the individual's situation.
4. Can a spouse waive spousal support?
Unlike child support, both spouses can waive spousal support through agreements. Also, revoking the court's power to provide spousal support based on any future situation.
5. Do you have to pay alimony if your spouse refuses to work?
Initially, the court may order you to pay the spousal support for a certain period. Meanwhile, the court gives time to the asking spouse to get back to work. Even after being capable, if your spouse refuses to work, the court will decide further.
Indeed, there are some decent ways how not to pay spousal support in Canada. They are all legal and, of course, ethical. As a responsible citizen, you should respect the law and follow these ways.
You are not only doing it right ethically, but also you will be doing it right by the courts. We have included a few of the expert strategies which you can follow. Above all, be smart and think through everything carefully and logically.