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Old 04-30-2011, 04:05 PM
pawood pawood is offline
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Question Can a spouse quit their job and thereby avoid spousal support?

I have just commenced negotiations with my ex-wife involving division of assets and spousal support for myself. The background is a sixteen year marriage with two sons, who are now teenagers (17&15). I have obtained council through a legal aid certificate, and have been advised that I have a bona fide case for spousal support due to disability issues. The claim would be non-compensatory and I would be the non-custodial parent, although that may change depending on the wishes of the 15 year old. The ex is now working; however, she has hooked up with a wealthy client of the accounting firm she works for and plans to move in with him in the near term, and I suspect she may quit her job of 28 years to avoid paying support.

My question is; how would the courts view this situation?
Old 04-30-2011, 05:20 PM
fieldgrey fieldgrey is offline
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Originally Posted by pawood View Post
My question is; how would the courts view this situation?
I'd like to help you by reframing your question: the courts will view this situation through your case presentation. You would have to argue for imputing an income if she's stopped paying support due to unemployment. Imputation often happens in cases of willful abandonment of employment (and therefore abandoning support). It's one thing to lose a job unwillingly, it's another to quit.

The courts are founded on our belief in a social contract - attempting to escape the social contract and abandon what society believes are fundamental obligations to support family will result in finding against your ex. But you must illustrate her abandonment and fight for your position.

The courts therefore are receptive to hearing about imputing income, generally through showing constancy of income through tax records. Only extraordinary events sway justices against imputation. Don't take a passive approach thinking that this is going to be self evident to a judge. The unfortunate burden you carry is that you must prove all aspects of your claim.

For case law examples, search CanLII - Canadian Legal Information Institute for "impute income child support". Read a few findings and you'll see how justices view payors' strategies of avoiding support.

Old 04-30-2011, 07:03 PM
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billm billm is offline
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From a non legal perspective.

Whether or not she is employed or not is not really at issue. If you have a non compensatory case for spousal support, then the only issue is what is her income, and that is determined by either her actual work income, or if she is being supported by someone else, then what is an equivalent income for that support.

Given your spousal support claim, you and her are a 'package deal', and one cannot support her without supporting you.

To make it easy and to ignore his income I would simply impute her income using her most recent three years of full time employment. Then she can do what ever she wants, work or not, it should not matter to you.
Old 05-01-2011, 08:27 AM
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Kenny Kenny is offline
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She can't quit her job just to avoid paying spousal/child support. There is an interesting article about it at this link:

Ontario Canada Child Support

Also, under the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act, 1996 Section Six, the court can seize money, tax returns, apply Writ of Seizure, etc.

You can also check CANLII court summaries. There is a case I discovered some time back where the payor didn't quite their job, but retired under a normal retirement program where this was allowed as the courts recognized a person's right to retire.

Hope this helps.


Last edited by Kenny; 05-01-2011 at 08:35 AM. Reason: Typing error
Old 05-01-2011, 12:27 PM
pawood pawood is offline
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Default Thanks for info.

To all who replied, thanks for your input.
As a follow up, here's a three part question; what is the procedure and the time line for filing an application for interim spousal support, and can negotiation continue while awaiting the motion to be heard?
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