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Old 07-01-2017, 11:06 AM
Aghast Aghast is offline
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Default Self-Sufficiency- Interpretation of Moge v. Moge

If this should be in a different forum. I apologize, please move it.

I have been reading a lot of case law on spousal support and most refer to Moge v. Moge. So of course I read it.

The Judges explained s. 17(7)(a-d) and their interpretation on it but am I interpreting s.17(7)(d) wrong?

I would like to hear some opinions before I argue my points on s17(7)(d).

S17(7)- An order made under this section that provides for the support of a spouse should (d) in so far as practicable, promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period of time.

It seems to me that the promotion of self sufficiency is being interchanged with obtaining self sufficiency, or aiding in self sufficiency. I have come to understand that this clause is being read that spousal support should be paid until the partner becomes self sufficient but that self sufficiency may not be obtainable so spousal support will be paid indefinitely.

Am I close?

I have come to understand the above but I don't read the clause like that.

The clause states; should promote self sufficiency. Awarding a tidy, indefinite, spousal support does not promote self sufficiency, it hinders it. You don't promote a bar by saying the beer is warm.

The way I read it, the spousal support award should be such that it encourages the partner to become self sufficient. And to that end, the award would have to be adjusted downward. Of course there is the qualifier; in so far as practicable. This is where the judge would have to determine what is a reasonable wage the partner could make. The less the partner can reasonably earn, the less the award would be adjusted downward.

Is my interpretation unreasonable?

So to look at it holistically; S. 17(7)(a) compensates for sacrifices or causes to share advantages which arose during the marriage, (b) compensates for financial obligations from child care, (c) takes care of immediate needs, (d) keeps it all in check.

If one partner stayed at home and lost out on advancement opportunities and the other partner gained opportunities, then spousal support should reflect that. However, subsection (7)(d) is the check that prevents that partner from remaining out of the work force. It is reasonable for one partner to stay home when they are living together, but when there are 2 households to maintain, the stay at home spouse needs to pull some weight, in so far as practicable.

If I were a Judge, this is how I would handle (7)(d); I would consider the first 3 clauses of the subsection. I would have a rough idea where on the SSAG scale the award would land. Then I would determine what wage the partner could reasonable be expected to earn. I would then, in my head, impute an amount which the partner can reasonable be expected to earn. I would make the calculations based on that imputed value. Then I would determine what is a reasonable amount of time to get to that wage and I would scale it over that time. Full support to start then scaled back over time to rest at the final award, which may be indefinite, may be definite, may be an end to support, the first 3 clauses would determine that.

This promotes self sufficiency.

Reasonable? Unreasonable? Or is this how it is done? Any opinions?
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