How to Calculate Spousal Support in Surrey? - Zukerman Law

How to Calculate Spousal Support in Surrey?

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a complex issue in Surrey, British Columbia. When a marriage breaks down, one spouse may be entitled to financial support from the other. Determining the amount and duration of spousal support depends on several factors, including the parties’ incomes and living expenses, the length of the relationship, having a child together, and each spouse’s ability to become self-supporting. This brief guide will clarify how courts calculate spousal support so you can understand your rights and obligations in with this challenging situation.

How To Calculate the Proper Amount of BC Spousal Support

How To Calculate the Proper Amount of BC Spousal Support

In British Columbia, there are guidelines and factors set out in the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines that courts use to determine the appropriate amount and duration of spousal support. The SSAG provides ranges for the amount and duration of support based on the length of the relationship and the difference between the spouses’ incomes. The guidelines are not binding, but courts will consider them as a starting point.

Some of the factors considered in deviating from the guidelines include the age and health of the spouses, child care responsibilities, the ability of the recipient spouse to become self-supporting, and the standard of living established during the relationship. The courts have significant discretion to order an amount and duration outside the guidelines after examining the factors unique to each case. An experienced family lawyer can argue for an appropriate deviation based on your specific circumstances and needs. The goal is to balance the financial consequences of the separation and move both spouses toward self-sufficiency.

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in BC?

How Long Does Spousal Support Last in BC?

The length of time one spouse must pay support to the other after divorce in Surrey, British Columbia, depends on the situation. There is no fixed duration. As a general rule, support payments usually last between 6 months and one year for each year the couple was married.

Support may be ordered for an indefinite period in two cases:

  • If the marriage lasted 20 years or more
  • If the marriage lasted for a minimum of 5 years, and the sum of the recipient’s age at the time of separation and the total number of years married equals 65 or more.

The longer the marriage, the more likely courts will order a longer support period. This is because, with longer marriages, spouses are seen as more financially dependent on each other.

How is Spousal Support Calculated in Surrey?

How is Spousal Support Calculated in Surrey?

Calculating spousal support in Surrey is more complex than it might seem. When a marriage or a living-together relationship ends, and you start receiving child support, it affects the way spousal support is figured out. This situation leads to having two separate methods to calculate spousal support: with or without a child.

How is Spousal Support Calculated Without Children?

When calculating spousal support in British Columbia without considering child support, a few key factors are taken into account. This method is used in cases where there are no children from the marriage. The process is relatively straightforward and can be done using a simple calculator. Here’s a breakdown of how it’s done:

  • Income Comparison: The first step is to note the gross incomes of both spouses. Gross income is your total income before any deductions like taxes.
  • Length of Marriage: The duration of the marriage is an important factor. It influences the amount of support that needs to be paid.
  • Calculation Formula: The formula used for calculation is based on the difference in the gross incomes of both spouses. For each year of the marriage, spousal support ranges from 1.5% to 2% of this income difference. The maximum limit for this support is capped at 50%.
  • Long Marriages: In cases of marriages that lasted 25 years or more, the formula changes slightly. The range of support is between 37.5% to 50% of the income difference. This often results in nearly equalizing the incomes of both spouses.

Simply put, when there are no children involved, spousal support in Surrey is calculated by comparing the gross incomes of both spouses, considering the length of the marriage, and applying a specific percentage to the income difference. This method aims to provide financial support to the lower-earning spouse, taking into account the economic impact of the marriage duration.

How is Spousal Support Calculated With Children?

When calculating spousal support in Surrey, British Columbia, and there are children involved, the process becomes more complex compared to situations without child support. Here’s a simpler explanation of how it works:

  • Including Child Support in the Calculation: The calculation for spousal support changes significantly when child support is involved. This is because child support payments directly affect the financial situation of both parties.
  • Calculating Individual Net Disposable Income (INDI): The first step is to figure out the Individual Net Disposable Income of each spouse. This is the income that’s left after taxes and other mandatory deductions.
  • Combining and Adjusting INDI: Once you have both INDI amounts, you combine them. Then, you determine the range of spousal support needed for the spouse with the lower income to have between 40% to 46% of the combined INDI.
  • Impact of Custody Arrangements: The custody arrangement of the children plays a crucial role in this calculation. Depending on who has custody and the amount of time children spend with each parent, the spousal support amount can vary.
  • Considerations for Shorter Relationships: In relationships of shorter duration with children, the spousal support payable is often higher compared to cases without children.
  • Adjustments Over Time: The calculation can get even more complicated as child support typically ends when a child reaches the age of 18. This change in circumstance will likely affect the amount of spousal support.
  • Need for Legal Assistance: Due to the complexity, especially when children are involved, many parents seek the help of a spousal support lawyer to navigate these calculations.

In summary, when child support is factored into the calculation of spousal support in Surrey, BC, the focus shifts to balancing the net disposable incomes of both spouses, considering the custody arrangements, and ensuring that the financial needs of the children are met. This process requires a detailed examination of both parents’ incomes and expenditures, making it more intricate than calculations without child support.

You can use this link to get an estimate of the amount of spousal support you might need to pay or receive in Surrey, British Columbia.

Need for Legal Assistance in Calculating Spousal Support in Surrey?

Need for Legal Assistance in Calculating Spousal Support in Surrey?

Spousal support can be complex, and there are many exceptions to the rules. Experience in these matters is key to understanding the calculations and whether you may be one of the exceptions.The family lawyers at Zukerman Law Group in Surrey are ready to listen to your situation and advise you of your legal options with spousal support during an initial consultation. Call us right now!


Stuart Zukerman

Stuart Zukerman, a graduate of the University of British Columbia, has over 32 years of experience in litigation with a focus on Family Law, Personal Injury, Wrongful Dismissal claims, and Collaborative Divorce & Mediation. He has extensive trial experience in divorce, child custody, spousal support, asset division, and ICBC injury claims. As an accredited Family Law Mediator, he helps resolve disputes without court intervention. Stuart has also authored papers on family law and lectured at CLE courses.