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After 34-years together, Tina and Joe Simpson, parents of Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, have called it quits. According to reports, the divorce is turning nasty as Joe has appointed a close friend as his divorce lawyer. Wife Tina doesn't understand why he would want to involve friends with their divorce proceeding.

Adding to the drama, details from a male escort have emerged. Allegedly, Joe was conducting secret homosexual affairs and even paid $600.00 for a night fling with a male escort. These allegations have all been denied by Joe.

As we wait for more details surrounding the divorce to hit media outlets, we are wondering if Tina will make a claim for spousal support? Joe is well-known for managing both his daughters' semi-successful singing careers, and probably has made a pretty penny from his 'dad-ager' position.

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 factors when determining whether to order spousal support and how much to order. These four are

  1. to recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to the spouses arising from the marriage or its breakdown;
  2. 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;
  3. to relieve any economic hardship of the spouses arising from the breakdown of the marriage; and
  4. in so far as practicable, to promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period of time.

So, 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.

If the Court finds that one spouse is entitled to support, then the amount of support becomes the next issue. Some of the factors that are taken into consideration when determining the amount of spousal support are as follows;

  1. the means of the payor;
  2. the need of the spouse receiving the support;
  3. the length of the marriage; and
  4. the function performed by each spouse during the marriage.

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines ("SSAG") take the above noted factors and plugs them into a DivorceMate calculator in order to get a ranger of support that should be paid. Although the guidelines have not been legislated or made mandatory in law, virtually all courts are now referring to the SSAG in their spousal support decisions.

For example, if Joe made $100,000.00 per year, and Tina did not receive a salary but was a stay-at-home mom, and the parties were married for 34 years, Tina would likely to be entitled to spousal support for an indefinite (unspecified) duration, subject to change and possibly review. Basically, the longer the marriage and the older the payee spouse, the longer the length of spousal support. However, support is decided on a case by case basis and is unique to the circumstances of each case.

Learn more about spousal support here.