After Two Decades, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon Split

Oscar-winning actors Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins have split after their 23 year relationship. Sarandon and Robbins have never gotten married, but have two children together; Jack age 20 and Miles age 17. Sarandon and Robbins are respectively 63 and 51 years old. Both stars are notably respected for their Oscar-worthy performances, specifically for Sarandon in "Thelma and Louise" and Robbins in "Mystic River". A spokesperson has confirmed that the couple have separated over this summer, and have only made it official recently.

If Sarandon and Robbins were living in Ontario as a common law couple, and decided to commence their separation in Ontario, the following is plausible.

Spousal Support

Given both actors are financially prosperous due to their acting career, a spousal support claim would depend on whether one of the party's can show a need for spousal support. Some of the factors to be considered for a court to grant spousal support are: the length of the relationship, the need for financial support, the need to compensate a partner for the economic hardship they endured from the relationship, a partner's contributions to enhance the other's career, and the need to maintain the same standard of living when the partners lived together. Based on both of the parties net worth and their ability to earn an income it is unlikely one can establish a need for spousal support. The Court will not provide a windfall to couples who are self-sufficient.

Custody and Access

There would not be an issue of access for the children, namely Miles and Jack because both children are old enough and mature enough to independently decide how much time (if any) they want to spend with each parent, and who they want to live with.

Child Support

Given that child support is the right of the child and the funds for child support are meant to foster the status quo for the child, the Courts are bound by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines include a table that shows the child support owed based on the income of the payor and the amount of children. In Sarandon and Robbins situation, the parent with whom the child primarily resides would be entitled to receive child support for Miles as he is only 17 years old and considered a dependent child. Sarandon and Robbins child Jack who is 20 years old may be granted child support if Jack can show he is not a self-supporting child. This means that Jack would show that either he has an illness/disability or he is a full-time student working towards a first post-secondary degree or diploma who has his primary residence with his parent.

Extraordinary Expenses

In addition to paying child support, extraordinarily expenses are to be split proportionately between the parents, based on their respective incomes. Although there is no hard and fast rule of how to exactly determine what is an extraordinary expense, section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines states that such expenses include: child care expenses, expenses of post-secondary education, and expenses for extracurricular activities, to name a few. In order to add on an extraordinary expense to child support, one is to look at the expense itself and compare it to the family's income in order to consider it extraordinary. It is important to note that if Sarandon or Robbins was to claim a $20.00 sporting activity fee as an extraordinary expense, this would not likely be considered an extraordinary expense given they are both high earning parents and such an expense is a nominal amount in comparison to their respective incomes.

At the end of the day, the most pressing issues for Sarandon and Robbins in a Canadian family law context would include child support and the extraordinary expenses. There is no equalization payment involved or property division as they were not married.

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