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Mississauga Family Law:

Spousal support is calculated when the payor spouse is not also paying child support.  The vast majority of the time that spousal support is awarded, however, is when the two former spouses do have children and the payor spouse is paying child support to the recipient spouse as well.

The starting point for calculating how much support a payor spouse pays to a recipient spouse when the payor spouse is also paying child support is to figure out each spouse’s individual net disposable income, or INDI.

Net disposable income is different from Gross Income (which we used in the “without child support” formula).  INDI for the payor spouse is generally calculated by taking the spouse’s regular income and subtracting Child Support and also subtracting taxes and deductions.

INDI for the recipient spouse is generally calculated by taking the spouse’s regular income, subtracting notional child support and taxes and deductions, and then adding government benefits and credits.

Once each spouse’s INDI has been calculated, the two amounts are added together to form a pool of net disposable income.  The recipient spouse is supposed to receive spousal support that will leave them with between 40 and 46 percent of the pool of net disposable income.

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Let’s look at an example of how this works, straight from the SSAG paper itself:

Ted and Alice have separated after 11 years together.  Ted works at a local manufacturing plant, earning $80,000 gross per year.  Alice has been home with the two children, now aged 8 and 10, who continue to reside with her after separation.

After the separation, Alice found work, less than full time, earning $20,000 gross per year.  Alice’s mother provides lunch and after-school care for the children, for nothing, when Alice has to work.

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Ted will pay the table amount for child support, $1,159 per month.  Alice’s notional table amount would be $308.  There are no s. 7 expenses (if there were, the spousal amounts would be lower).

Under the formula, Ted would pay spousal support in the range of $474 to $1,025 per month.

Now, how long will Ted be required to pay spousal support?  Initial orders for support and almost always indefinite, but are subject to review later on which result in the obligation ending in one of two ranges of time (the “upper end of the range” and the “lower end of the range”).

Duration is calculated at the upper end of the range for a period of time equal to the longer of the length or the marriage or the date that the youngest child finishes high school.

Duration is calculated at the lower end of the range for a period of time equal to one-half the length of the marriage or the date that the youngest child starts full-time school.

Call 1 844-618-8080 (toll free) or text 778-676-3808 to book your free 30 minute consultation with our Mississauga Lawyers.

What should be clear at this point is that support calculations are complex.  Computer software is required to obtain accurate calculations.  Your family lawyer will have access to this software, but to give you a sense of the range of spousal support you might be entitled to there is a free, simplified version available online.

Divorce through a child’s eyes

Risa Garon is the director of a non-profit centre in Columbia and Rockville, Maryland, called the National Family Resiliency Centre (NFRC). She recently wrote an article called “A Young Adult’s Reflections About Her Parents’ Divorce” that appeared in the Huffington Post.

The peer counselors at the NFRC range in age (the youngest is 6 years old!), but have the commonality that they have all and each experienced a family transition, and are trained by the NFRC to be supportive of other families going through transitions.

Several of the peer counselors that had moved on from the NFRC contacted Risa to update her on their lives, and one in particular provided great insight into the impact that the NFRC had had on her life as her family transitioned:

“The first thought that K shared was that she wishes her parents had brought her to NFRC as soon as the separation was announced. “I was 11 1/2 and I did not start with the center until I was 14. I didn’t want to come but knew that I needed it.”

While acknowledging that therapy isn’t for everyone, she valued therapy and worked hard. The most significant way that therapy helped her was to learn to express her feelings and communicate them to her family and others.”

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Sometimes bad communication styles are passed from parents to children, like being aggressive, passive, or passive aggressive.  Learning to be assertive, to recognize your feelings and emotions and also to value your feelings are an important part of maturing.

“I came from a family where feelings were shoved under the table. I needed help because my parents were caught up in their own struggles and I got lost.” What K wishes is that that parents could understand is how detrimental it is for them to parentify their children by sharing their adult problems with them, confiding in them or expecting them to reverse roles and become their parents’ caregivers.

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K believes that co-parenting is critical. She suggests that parents seek support to deal with the many emotional, financial and parenting challenges that come with divorce. She reflected that parents have so many pressures to contend with but that children need their parents and additional support at the same time.”

K also discussed many of the challenges that children experience when going through a family transition, such as:

  • adjusting to a physical separation from one parent
  • figuring out new schedules
  • moving locations
  • changing schools
  • deciding which parent to spend holidays with
  • feeling guilty

Children react in different ways to separation and divorce, and it is a good idea to allow children access to counsellors to talk about the feelings and emotions that they are experiencing. A lot of the time, children will take their parents’ separation very personally.

The good news is that divorce and separation doesn’t have to be a destructive event for many families. Several studies show that children who have parents that stay together but are unhappy with their relationship are less well-adjusted than children whose parents have separated and are happy.

The main point that K made was that counseling, therapy or some form of support for children in families that are in transition is really important, and this is important for all members of the family, children AND parents.

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Families’ in Transition provides a number of free or cost-effective options for families that are going through separation and/or divorce, and is something that every parent should look in to.  BC FIT also offers Parenting After Separation, a course that is now mandatory for all parents that seek orders relating to children in certain provinces.

Additionally, they have programs for parents and children, such as Caught in the Middle, that help support children through the transition. BC FIT also provides a number of group therapy sessions, and knowing that you are not alone is a big help.

If you have questions about your separation or divorce, or would like a referral to counselors, therapists, or other separation professionals in Mississauga, call us today.

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