Rioux v. Rioux: Spousal Support

The parties separated in 2005 after a 21 year marriage. At the time of separation, their only daughter was about to begin her post-secondary education.

The main issue in this Ontario Court of Appeal case is whether the trail judge erred in awarding Ms. Rioux a lump sump amount of $100,000.00. This amount was intended to cover retroactive child support, educational expenses, retroactive spousal support, reimbursement for other expenses, and equalization. The problem with this lump sum payment is that the trial judge was not clear as to whether spousal support would be paid to Ms. Rioux in addition to this lump sum amount.

On appeal, the court determined that additional spousal support payments would be made because the $100,000.00 lump sum payment could not possibly cover Mr. Rioux’s spousal support obligations. The equalization payment made up roughly $90,000.00 of this $100,000.00 and spousal support payments for a 21 year long traditional marriage where the husband earns over six times more income than the wife should total far more than $10,000.00.

The court decided that Ms. Rioux would receive spousal support from Mr. Rioux in the amount of $1,500.00 per month for five years, at which point in the time this spousal support award would be open to review by either party. The court stated that Ms. Rioux should become self supporting during this time period. Ms. Rioux was 49 years old at the time of this appeal.

In addition to ordering spousal support, the court ordered that Mr. Rioux keep Ms. Rioux as the sole beneficiary of his health benefits so long as he is covered through his employment and so long as he is required to support Ms. Rioux.

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