This matter involved two motions – one brought by the mother, and one by the father.
The mother requested temporary orders for spousal and child support, and the father sought an order for equal parenting time for the parties' child (date of birth omitted by the court).
The parties were married in 2016, separated in 2018, reconciled in 2021, and then finally separated in 2022.
The father opposed the mother’s claim for spousal support. And the mother opposed the father’s claim for equal parenting time.
What, if any, spousal support should the father pay?
What parenting time should the father receive?
The father was agreeable to being imputed an income of $84,000 for the purposes of child support. He claimed that an income of $24,950 should be imputed to the mother, and, for him, $70,000 for the purposes of spousal support calculations. Using these numbers, no spousal support would be payable.
The father alleged that the mother was under-employed and that she had the benefit of over $50,000 that she kept for herself upon the refinancing of the matrimonial home just before separation. As such, it was his position that she did not require the assistance of spousal support.
The court did not look kindly upon the mother having kept the money from the home refinance for herself and noted that this would affect equalization and final spousal support claim down the road. For the current issue of temporary spousal support, this factor was not weighed heavily.
The court noted the factors it shall consider when making a temporary order for spousal support: the condition, means, needs, and other circumstances of each spouse, including:
- length of cohabitation
- functions performed by each spouse during cohabitation
- any order, agreement, or arrangement relating to spousal support
It is only once a prima facie case for entitlement has been made that an order for interim spousal support will be made.
Acknowledging that it would take the mother time to become self-sufficient, the court was willing to make an order for spousal support, imputing an income of $30,000 to the mother and $84,000 to the father. This resulted in monthly spousal support of $201 being payable, per the mid-range of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines.
The Court found that there was no evidence to support the mother’s proposed restrictive parenting schedule for the father, though factors in the Children’s Law Reform Act and Divorce Act supported leaving the child in the mother’s primary care.
Though the court did not think the child was too young for equal parenting time to be viable, as the mother submitted, it found that a stable home base would be best for this child.
The parties were advised to negotiate decision-making responsibility and a temporary parenting time schedule following the court’s temporary order.
The father was given parenting time on alternate weekends and one mid-week overnight.