One of the most common questions regarding spousal support, is what is the duration of spousal support, when does the support requirement end? Similar to a child support requirement, the answer is, it really depends on the case. In some instances, spousal support will end earlier while in other cases it will last much longer. Sometimes, spousal support will even be an indefinite requirement.
Duration of Spousal Support
The duration of spousal support is calculated based on several factors applied specifically to each case. As can be expected, generally, the longer the marriage/cohabitation, the longer the obligation.
Subject to changes in circumstance, spousal support may also be indefinite if the marriage has been five years or longer and the years of the marriage, plus the age of the recipient adds up to 65 or more. This is known as the Rule of 65.
Whether there are children involved will also alter the duration and quantum of spousal support. There are two formulas for calculating the duration and quantum of spousal support. There’s the “Without Child” formula, and there’s the “With Child” formula.
Duration of Spousal Support Without Child Formula
The most significant factor in determining spousal support without children is the length of the relationship.
For calculating the quantum of support, courts generally follow the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, but the courts are not required to. The guidelines will generally provide a high, middle and low range of spousal support based on the parties’ length of relationship and differences in their incomes.
Duration of Spousal Support With Child Formula
Calculating the duration for spousal support under the “with child” formula is first dependent on the quantum. The quantum is calculated as follows. The first step is to determine the individual net disposable income (NDI) of each spouse. The process for calculating the NDI is as follows:
- Calculate incomes:
- Payor’s NDI = Guidelines income minus child support minus taxes and deductions minus spousal support
- Recipient’s NDI = Guidelines income minus notional child support minus taxes and deductions plus government benefits and credits plus spousal support
- Add together the individual net disposable incomes. Then, determine the range of spousal support amounts that would be required to leave the lower-income recipient spouse with between 40%and 50% of the combined INDI.
Depending on where the quantum falls out on the range (higher, middle, lower), that’s how long the support will last. So, if it falls out on the higher end of the range, then it’s the longer of either the length of the marriage or the date the last or youngest child finishes high school. If it falls out on the lower end of the range, then it is the longer of either one half the length of the marriage or the date the youngest child starts full-time school.
This is the basic formula for calculating quantum and duration. Calculations can vary based on various custody arrangements as well. Calculating spousal support can be very complex, and it is recommended that you contact a family law lawyer to assist.
Nussbaum Law is a Toronto based law firm that exclusively practices family and divorce law.