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Calgary High Net Worth Separation Divorce

What are the Spousal Support SSAG Factors that courts and top Vancouver and Calgary family lawyers use to decide proper spousal support amounts? How long Vancouver spousal support or spousal alimony is paid is also affected by the SSAG. MacLean Law has set records for the highest combined spousal and child support awards. Our firm regularly handles high net worth support cases both for the paying and receiving spouses. The SSAG’s have specialized factors and exceptions for high net worth cases.

Peter Graburn of our Calgary office once again provides an excellent summary on this often contentious family law issue.

Spousal Support SSAG Factors – Rules, Factors & Exceptions – Part 2 of 3 – Factors 1 877 602 9900

Spousal support can be a difficult issue for separating spouses, whether married or common-law – payors may think they are paying too much; recipients may feel they are receiving too little. So how do you determine what amount of spousal support is correct? There are several ways separating spouses can determine this, including:

  • pick a number “out of the air” that both agree with;
  • look at budgets to determine respective ‘need’ and ‘ability to pay’, or;
  • take the matter to court and let a judge decide.

Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) 1 877 602 9900

Another way to determine a reasonable amount of spousal support is to use the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs). In the first part of this series SSAG Spousal Support Rules Factors Exceptions, we looked at the basic principles of spousal support (entitlement, quantum, duration, and form) and discussed some of the rules that must be applied in using the Guidelines.  In this part of the series, we look at some of the factors that must be considered in using the SSAGs to determine spousal support.


As previously indicated, the SSAGs use 2 mathematical formulas (either the “With Child Support” or “Without Child Support” formula) to determine a range (ie. low – mid-high) of both quantum and duration of spousal support. So how do you determine the specific amount and length of payment of spousal support within those ranges? Do you simply use the mid-point for each? Maybe (if the parties are trying to negotiate settlement themselves). But the Courts will look at several specific factors to determine where on the SSAG ranges of both amount and duration spousal support should be paid.

Divorce Act:

Sections 15.2(4) and 15.2(6) of the federal Divorce Act set out several specific factors and objectives the Court will take into account in awarding spousal support, including to:

recognize any economic (dis)advantages to the spouses arising from their relationship and its breakdown;

apportion any financial consequences arising from the care of their children (beyond the duty to pay child support);

relieve any economic hardship arising from the breakdown of the relationship;

promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period;

length of time of cohabitation;

functions performed by each spouse during cohabitation, and;

any agreement or Court Order for support of the parties.


Similarly, several specific factors must also be taken into consideration in determining where on the SSAG ranges (low – mid-high) of both amount and duration spousal support should be paid, depending on which formula is being used, including generally:

Ages of the Parties and Children, ie:

– no children – low range

– with children – mid-range

– older recipients – high range (or indefinite)

Length of the relationship, ie:

– marriage of fewer than 10 years (short-term) – low range

– marriage of 10 – 15 years (mid-term) – mid-range

marriage of 15+ years – high range (or indefinite)

Roles & incomes of the Parties – ie. financial provider vs. stay-at-home parent:

– low income of the payor – low range

– large income difference between the spouses – high range

Which parent the children live with – ie. shared, split or primary care;

– shared custody of the children – low range

Several other factors may also be considered in determining where on the SSAG ranges spousal support should be paid (ie. illness and disability) or at all (ie. domestic violence). So it is not simply a matter of inputting information (ages, incomes, and length of the relationship) into the formulas and then choosing the mid-point of both quantum and duration to determine the payment of spousal support using the SSAGs.  Care must be taken to look at the whole family situation to determine where on the SSAG ranges spousal support should be paid to meet the objectives of spousal support under the Divorce Act.

Call Our Top Vancouver and Calgary Family Lawyers 1 877 602 9900

The factors that must be applied to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) are only one of the considerations that must be addressed in using the Guidelines to determine spousal support. Top Vancouver and Calgary family lawyers assist their clients to understand the different ways spousal support can be determined, and the different considerations (ie. rules, factors and exceptions) which must be applied in using the SSAGs to determine levels and duration of such support.