Child Support, Spousal Support & Post-Separation Increases in Income

Today we will be discussing the legal implications of a post-separation increase in income on an individual's support obligations, in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

Hello, my name is Daphna Schwartz and I am a lawyer at Feldstein Family Law Group. Today I will be discussing the legal implications of a post-separation increase in income on an individual’s child and spousal support obligations.

The amount of child support being paid is based on three factors in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines, which are

  1. the number of children;
  2. the child care arrangements between the parties, being how often the children are cared for by each parent; and
  3. the payor’s annual income.

As a payor of child support, you are under an obligation to inform the other parent of your annual income on a yearly basis. This is because child support is not the right of the recipient, but a right of the children. In the event of a post-separation increase in income, a payor’s child support obligation will increase in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

The effect of a post-separation increase in income on an individual’s spousal support obligation is a more complicated legal issue. Whether a court takes into consideration an increase in a spouse’s income post-separation, for determining whether spousal support should increase, is dependent on the following criteria:

  1. Were the payor’s skills and credentials from which he or she earns the increased income obtained during the parties’ relationship;
  2. Does the increase in income of the payor flow from a job that is different from that which he or she had during the parties’ relationship;
  3. Was the parties’ relationship one that can be characterized as a complete integration of their personal and economic lives; and
  4. What is the period of time between the parties’ date of separation and the payor’s increase in income.

Although all of these criteria may be considered by a Court, case law demonstrates that the primary factor to be considered is whether spousal support is compensatory or non-compensatory in nature. In very simple terms, compensatory support is provided to a recipient spouse after separation due to the sacrifices that person has made for the benefit of the family. On the other hand, non-compensatory support is needs-based.

The effect of a post-separation increase in income on a person’s spousal support obligations is fact driven. That is, Courts will decide this issue on a case-by-case basis after examining the circumstances surrounding the marriage, separation and the party’s increase in income after separation.

For more information regarding child and spousal support, please feel free to visit our website or call us at (905) 581-7222 to schedule a consultation. Thanks for watching.

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