If a divorce is in your future, you likely understand that your life may be changing drastically, especially if you have been married for some time. One factor that will profoundly affect the stability of your new life is your financial situation. Too often, the outcome of asset division is not enough to allow both spouses to continue the same standard of living as before the divorce, and the lower-earning spouse is usually the one to suffer.
In addition to having solid legal support to fight for a full and fair division of property, many spouses in your situation investigate the possibility of seeking spousal support as part of their divorce order or agreement. Knowing the basics of British Columbia law regarding spousal support is important to ensuring the protection of your rights. We invite you to visit our Spousal Support Obligations section to learn more.
Spousal Support: Factors affecting eligibility
Spousal support is not given in divorce, and fewer people obtain this financial provision than in years past. Firstly, the court will determine if you qualify for such payments based on a number of factors, including:
- Your economic standing
- Your spouse’s financial situation
- Your overall need
- Childcare responsibilities that make it difficult for you to work full time
- Financial sacrifices you made during the marriage, such as giving up your career so your spouse could further his or her career
- Time you may need to finish your education or take other steps to become financially stable on your own
If you do qualify for spousal support, it will likely be temporary. However, the court may consider certain contingencies, such as the length of your marriage, that may qualify you for support indefinitely. In most cases, though, the court will order support for a specific length of time or in one lump sum. There is a formula most judges use as a guide for determining the amount of support you may receive, but the law allows some flexibility in that area.
British Columbia family law does not take into account any wrongdoing in the marriage when determining whether one spouse owes support to the other. For example, if your spouse was unfaithful, this alone may not sway the court to award you spousal support unless he or she used significant marital funds to support a romantic partner. No matter the situation, you would certainly benefit from experienced legal counsel to help you fight for your fair share.