Spousal Support/ Partner Support
In making a spousal /partner support order, the Court is required to take into consideration the “condition, means, needs and other circumstances” of each party and of any child of the marriage for whom support is sought, including:
- the length of time the parties cohabited;
- the functions performed by the parties during cohabitation;
- any order, agreement or arrangement relating to support of the parties or children.
In making a support order, the Court may not take into consideration any misconduct of a party in relation to the marriage.
The objective of any spousal support/partner support order is to:
- recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to the spouses arising from the relationship or its breakdown;
- apportion between the parties any financial consequences arising from the care of any child of the marriage;
- relieve any economic hardship of the parties arising from the breakdown of the marriage; and
- In so far as practicable, promote the economic self-sufficiency of each party within a reasonable period of time. No one of these foregoing factors is more important than the others. Rather, a Court will be required to take all factors into account.
In addition, the Court may also consider the following:
- Equalization of incomes; There is a line of cases which support the notion that the longer the relationship the more there is a presumption that after the relationship breakdown the income of the parties should be equalized. This principle is not a hard and fast one and may not be applied in every case.
- Need; The Court will look at a party’s need and consider whether the other party should assist in meeting reasonable expenses.
- Property Division. In considering the spousal support issue, the Court will look at the property division and the potential that division has for producing income.
Periodic spousal/partner support is included in the income of the recipient and tax deductible to the payor. Lump sum spousal/partner support attracts no tax implications. That is, it is included neither in the income of the recipient nor tax deductible to the payor.