Spousal Support: When Does A New Spouse's Income Matter?

Today we going to be answering one of the most frequent questions that I hear from my clients –how is spousal support impacted if me or my former spouse enter into a new relationship?

Hello, I’m Deleta Grandy with Feldstein Family Law Group.

Today I’m going to be answering one of the most frequent questions that I hear from my clients –how is spousal support impacted if me or my former spouse enter into a new relationship?

As is often the case in family law, the answer is that it depends.

If you are a spousal support recipient, the income of any new spouse with whom you reside may have an impact on your support. This is because one of the bases for establishing an entitlement to spousal support is need. If your need for spousal support is reduced as a result of joint finances and expenses from your relationship with a new spouse, then your former spouse’s obligation to provide the support may be reduced accordingly.

However, a common misunderstanding is that a spousal support obligation automatically terminates if a support recipient re-partners or remarries. This is not the case. Re-partnering or remarriage may trigger a review of the spousal support arrangements that are in place, but it does not necessarily mean that there is no ongoing obligation because the entitlement to receive support may continue.

For example, consider the case of a support payor who is paying spousal support based on an income of $200,000.00 and where the recipient earns an income of $25,000.00. If the recipient were to remarry or begin living in a common law relationship with someone who earns $30,000.00 per year, there would still be a sizeable difference between the incomes in the respective homes and the recipient’s need will not have reduced substantially. In contrast, if the recipient were to remarry someone who made $250,000.00 per year, then the need may be eliminated.

Further, in some cases, spousal support entitlement is established on a compensatory basis, meaning that the support is intended to compensate the recipient for contributions they made to the previous marriage. In such cases, the support obligation is likely to survive remarriage because the remarriage is not related to the reason for the support payments.

If you are looking for additional information on how remarriage may impact spousal support, please schedule an initial consultation today by contacting us at 905-415-1636 or online at www.separation.ca.

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