Seeking Spousal Support

The issue of spousal support is closely connected to two other issues: child support and property.

If you try to deal with this on your own, then you have to understand how the quantum of spousal support will be affected by child support from the husband, as well as what each party contributes to the expenses for the children. On the property side, you have to look at what is mom going to get in terms of an equalization payment because that will have an impact on her need. Also, you will have to look at her capital position. With so many factors to consider, it’s important to have an experienced counsel explain what you would likely be entitled to and what it’s going to mean in the future.

There is an alarming trend in which people decide to waive their rights to spousal support. They don’t understand what that means and that’s one example of why having a lawyer is terribly important. There are a lot of hot button issues that are pushed when you separate. Most people, especially the mother, are predominantly concerned about where the kids are going to live, what’s going to happen to them and how they are going to manage financially and practically from that point forward. The father is worried about what happens to the house, with the property payments, with equalization payments, where everyone is going to be, and how it’s going to be resolved at the end of the day. Some people are looking to resolve everything as quickly and as peacefully as possible and if that means walking away from spousal support entitlement they might well do so. They might sign an agreement where they are essentially waiving their rights to spousal support, and to do so in the absence of understanding what that means is really dangerous. People just say they don’t care, it’s just a handful of dollars, they don’t want to bother with it. They walk away and then realize down the road that they have walked away from an entitlement that could have been significant and, more importantly, that they need.

That being said, the waivers of spousal support and agreement have successfully been challenged in the past, especially where the payee can demonstrate that they didn’t understand. They may not have received full financial disclosure from their spouse or they did not have independent legal advice when they executed the waiver.

If you are in the hands of a lawyer, that’s not going to happen. All information will be disclosed and every option will be explained. It’s better to spend the money and get the agreement right the first time, than to have to come back in three years and argue to have it overturned.


If you, or someone you care about, is dealing with family law issues in York Region, Durham Region or Toronto, contact Feldstein Family Law Group for a consultation.

This article is taken from a October 09, 2007 interview with Andrew Feldstein, Family Lawyer with Feldstein Family Law Group, a Toronto Ontario Family Law Firm. Note that laws vary from province to province. Please consult with a lawyer in your own area to be sure of the laws and specific issues in your own jurisdiction.