Canadian actress, Neve Campbell, has filed for divorce from her husband of three years, John Light, citing irreconcilable differences for the separation. Campbell and Light met on the set of a movie in 2005 and married in May of 2007 in Malibu, California. This is Campbell's second divorce as she separated from Canadian actor Jeff Colt in 1997 after having been married for slightly more than two years.
Although the application for divorce was filed five months ago, the tabloids have just recently learned of and reported the split. While details of the application have yet to be disclosed, tabloids report that Campbell has specified she wishes that the court not grant Light spousal support.
In Ontario, the law views spousal relationships as financial partnerships. Thus, upon the breakdown of such a partnership, the person with more income or assets may have to pay support to the other. Under the federal Divorce Act, a Canadian family court will look at four heads when determining whether to order spousal support and how much to order. These four are:
(a) to recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to the spouses arising from the marriage or its breakdown;
(b) to apportion between the spouses any financial consequences arising from the care of any child of the marriage over and above the obligation apportioned between the spouses;
(c) to relieve any economic hardship of the spouses arising from the breakdown of the marriage; and
(d) in so far as practicable, to promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period of time. If a spouse is unable to support him or herself or if there is a big difference between the incomes of each spouse, he or she may have a claim for support against the other spouse.
In the case of Campbell and Light, there is likely to be some disparity between the party's respective incomes as Campbell has had a more prominent career. As such, Campbell may be obligated to pay spousal support to Light. However, in view of the party's young ages and short term marriage, it is likely that the court will find Light capable of attaining self sufficiency or that he sustained very little, if any, economic disadvantage as a result of the breakdown of the marriage and thus only grant time-limited support, if any. Further, because of their short-term marriage, if Campell is found to have an obligation to pay spousal support, she may seek an order whereby support be payable in one lump sum in order to facilitate a clean break.
Often times celebrities avoid issues of support that may arise on separation by entering into agreements that waive spousal support altogether. While such releases are entirely lawful, in order to be a full and final release, the clause in the agreement must be carefully worded and it must be clear that no change in circumstances will warrant a review of spousal support obligations. The latter is not an absolute release from the duty to provide support and thus, legal advice should be sought in order to ensure that the party's agreement clears the potential payor from any future claim.
In all, in the absence of full and final financial disclosure from each of the party's it is difficult to determine any financial obligations that may arise from their separation. Nonetheless, even if the courts are to impose a spousal support obligation on Campbell, it is highly unlikely that she will be responsible for indefinite support and at most will be obligated to pay transitional support to assist Light in becoming financially self-sufficient.