Dude, where's my separation agreement? Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore finally reach a settlement

According to TMZ online, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore have finally reached a separation agreement. While the process has been drawn-out and contentious at times, TMZ reports that both are now happy with their final agreement.

As for the matter of property division, TMZ reports that Ashton "was a little more generous than he had to be" but that the ex-spouses basically split the net family property (property acquired over the course of the marriage) in half. And while we're sure that there was more than enough to go around, according to TMZ the settlement was substantially less than what Moore received from first ex-husband Bruce Willis, who was at the peak of his career when the couple divorced.

Sources also report that Moore sought spousal support on the grounds that Kutcher had been unfaithful during the marriage. Unfortunately for Moore, California, like Ontario, is a no-fault state, meaning that the cause of the divorce has no impact on the parties' support obligations. Moreover, Moore is reported to have a higher net worth than Kutcher ($150 million vs. $140 million) despite Kutcher currently making a higher annual salary as the star of the hit sitcom Two and a Half Men.

In Ontario, a court may make an order for spousal support that is either indefinite or time limited, pursuant to s. 15.2 of the Divorce Act. The courts also have the option of awarding lump-sum spousal support, however, this is less common. Security may be ordered to secure the support obligation, and conditions may be imposed by the courts. One common condition is that the support recipient's right to support will end if he or she cohabitates with or remarries another romantic partner.

In Canada, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines generally govern the amount and duration of spousal support awards. Unlike the Child Support Guidelines, the SSAG are not legislated and are therefore and not binding on Canadian courts. Rather, the SSAG are a practical tool to assist spouses, lawyers and judges alike in determining the amount and duration of support. That being said, a Judge must offer reasons for departing from the SSAG, especially where the departure does not fall within one of the exceptions recognized in the Guidelines.

Finally, it must be remember that while the SSAG assist in determining the amount and duration of support, they do not deal with entitlement. Before the SSAG even come into play, a spouse must demonstrate entitlement on at least one of the three grounds: compensatory, contractual or non-compensatory (where there is economic hardship resulting from the breakdown of the marriage). It is hard to imagine that Moore would need spousal support with a net worth of approximately $150 million.

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