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Further Resources

  1. Prenuptial Agreements - Marriage contract and cohabitation agreement information.
  2. Uncontested Divorce - Obtain an uncontested divorce or a separation agreement.
  3. Common Law Separation - Resource for common law couples
  4. French Site - French language family law web site.

How much spousal support?

Determining an appropriate amount of spousal support has been characterised as an art more than a science.

However, in a recent paper by Mackinnon J and Murray, there has been an excellent attempt to put some science into the issue of spousal support.

The authors analysed all trial judgments in Ontario between January 1, 2002 and December 31, 2003 in which spousal support was awarded. From this they found that there is indeed a dominant range in which spousal support awards fall. The specifics of what the authors found are:

A. The largest variable affecting the amount of spousal support is whether child support is being paid.

B. Where no child support is being paid, the dominant range of spousal support can be calculated as a percentage of gross family income or net disposable income (net disposable income is income after deductions for income tax, EI, and CPP - this is an important figure, as spousal support is taxed, but child support is not). Gross family income can be calculated without the assistance of computer software, which makes life easier.

C. Where no child support is being paid, most awards of spousal support bring the recipientís share of gross family income into the 34 - 43 percent range. The comparable range of net disposable income is 36.6 - 44.5 percent.

D. If no child support is awarded, spousesí incomes are rarely equalized.

E. Where both spousal support and child support are paid, gross family income calculations are not helpful, but net disposable income calculations are. There are 5 basic categories of cases where both spousal and child support are being paid:

1. Shared or split custody. In these cases, net disposable income is divided approximately equally between the spouses.

2. One child living with spousal support recipient. In these cases, the spousal support recipient generally receives 45 to 50 percent of the net disposable income.

3. Two children living with spousal support recipient. In these cases, the spousal support recipient generally receives 55 percent of the net disposable income.

4. Three children living with spousal support recipient. In these cases, the spousal support recipient generally receives close to 60 percent of the net disposable income.

Continued at How Much Spousal Support?
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