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Best Interim Spousal Support Lawyers

The Best Interim Spousal Support Lawyers help clients obtain top results including record interim spousal support awards. Our interim spousal support lawyers have set records in medium to high net worth spousal support and child support cases involving business owners professionals and other successful spouses.  We share some of the best strategies to help you get the best results. Our top interim Spousal Support Lawyers act across Canada in BC through multiple offices and in Calgary and Toronto.

In today’s blog senior family lawyer, Peter Graburn explains the purpose and rules for interim support. Lorne MacLean, QC explains the test in BC.

Best Interim Spousal Support Lawyers

1 877 602 9900

Best Interim Spousal Support Lawyers
Peter Graburn Interim Spousal Support Lawyers Calgary and Toronto

Our Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto lawyers are pleased to share tips to help you achieve the best interim spousal support result. In today’s blog senior family lawyer peter Graburn shows what you and the Best Interim Spousal Support Lawyers need to do to achieve success.

Interim – mean  something temporary and intended to be used or accepted until something permanent exists (Cambridge English Dictionary). This definition could not be a more accurate description of the law of interim spousal support in BC, Alberta and Toronto.

Spousal support can be a controversial issue upon the separation (of so-called “common-law”) and divorce (of married) couples.  Some ex-partners believe they are entitled to this financial support; others, not. Spousal support is not (necessarily) forever. Spousal support is intended to financially assist an ex-spouse for a reasonable period post-separation until they can become financial self-supporting (the specific objectives of spousal support being set out in ss. 15.2(6) of the recently amended Divorce Act). But what about in the short-term? What about in the interim?

Spousal Support

Spousal support is a form of financial support that may be paid upon separation (under the provincial Family Law Act) or divorce (under the federal Divorce Act) similar to child support. But unlike child support (which each parent has a duty to pay), a spouse must first prove an entitlement to receive spousal support (under either a contractual, compensatory or non-compensatory basis) before determining the quantum (how much), duration (how long) and form (periodic or lump-sum) of such spousal support. This may take some time (and significant evidence) to prove at a full hearing on spousal support. But what about pending that full hearing? What about in the interim?

Interim Spousal Support Alberta 1 877 602 9900

The basic test on an application for interim spousal support (set out by the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench in the case of Bennett v. Bennett (2005 ABQB 984 at para. 38) focusses on the immediate needs and ability to pay of the respective spouses, being:

  1. Does the applicant have standing to claim support?
  2. Is the applicant entitled to support?
  3. What are the dependent’s needs?
  4. Does the payer have the ability to pay?

The test was further expanded and explained by the Alberta Court of Appeal in the case of Anand v. Anand (2016 ABCA 23) where the Court stated (at para s 56 – 57):

“Interim spousal support orders are often treated differently than spousal support awarded after trial, in that evidence concerning family assets and economic consequences of the marriage breakdown may not be fully developed, so greater significance is placed on the parties’ means and needs… The ultimate question for the court on an interim application is to determine what is reasonable on a temporary basis pending trial… This Court has recognized that interim orders are often made on an incomplete record and chambers judges do the best they can to set an interim balance between the parties until the matter can go to trial.”

Interim Spousal Support BC 1 877 602 9900

Best Interim Spousal Support Lawyers
Lorne MacLean, QC, best Best Interim Spousal Support Lawyers

Lorne Maclean, QC record setting interim spousal support lawyer explains BC has a similar test as follows:

In Robles v. Kuhn, 2009 BCSC 1163 at para. 12, Master Keighley set out a useful set of principles governing interim support orders:

  1. On applications for interim support the applicant’s needs and the respondent’s ability to pay assume greater significance: Gibb v. Gibb, [2005] B.C.J. No. 2730 (S.C.);
  2. An interim support order should be sufficient to allow the applicant to continue living at the same standard of living enjoyed prior to separation if the payor’s ability to pay warrants it: Grossi v. Grossi, [1993] B.C.J. No. 878 (S.C.);
  3. On interim support applications the court does not embark on an in-depth analysis of the parties’ circumstances which is better left to trial. The court achieves rough justice at best: Randhawa v. Randhawa, [1999] B.C.J. No. 3299; Newson v. Newson, [1998] B.C.J. No. 2906, 65 B.C.L.R. (3d) 22 (C.A.);
  4. The courts should not unduly emphasise any one of the statutory considerations above others;
  5. On interim applications the need to achieve economic self-sufficiency is often of less significance;
  6. Interim support should be ordered within the range suggested by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines unless exceptional circumstances indicate otherwise: Ladd v. Ladd, [2006] B.C.J. No. 1930, 2006 BCSC 1280 (S.C.);…

MacLean notes the main purpose of an interim order for spousal support is to bridge the period between when the action is commenced and the trial at which time the court will be in a position to make a decision on the merits.

Given such a simple and straightforward test, interim spousal support applications are rarely denied, particularly in cases of long-term marriages with children where need and ability to pay are clearly established.  

This principle was recently applied in the Alberta case of Furry v. Goodwin (2020 ABCA 127), where the parties had been married for 10 years and had 2 children. The father earned $150,000 to $210,000 a year; the mother was unemployed and had no income, claiming she was not legally able to work in Canada. The mother brought an application for interim spousal support. The Chambers Justice denied the application, finding: 1) the mother was engaged in business enterprises and the father was actively involved with the children; 2) the father bore all the costs and responsibilities of the children, and; 3) the mother provided insufficient evidence she was unable to work. The Alberta Court of Appeal overturned the decision and grated the mother interim spousal support, noting (at para. 10):

“While a chambers judge hearing an application for interim spousal support will often not have the evidence to fully assess all the matters set out in s 15.2, judges are specifically directed to consider the factors and objectives identified in ss 15.2(4) and 15.2(6) and ignore misconduct of a spouse in relation to the marriage (s 15.2(5)). They must do so to the extent permitted by the record, recognizing that they may not have full evidence before them. The key question on an interim application is “what is reasonable on a temporary basis pending trial”.

Best Family Lawyers Can Help 1 877 602 9900

Interim spousal support orders are intended to cover a short period of time between the making of the order and trial, and are simply to provide a reasonably acceptable solution to a difficult problem until trial [Sypher v. Sypher (1986) 2 R.F.L. (3d) 413 (Ont. CA)]. Accordingly, the test for interim spousal support in Alberta is clear and straightforward – what is reasonable on a temporary basis pending trial.  But how much is this? In Furry v. Goldwin (above), the Alberta Court of Appeal set this amount at slightly below the low end of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) until trial (although this may have only been in this particular case). 

Interim spousal support is often an important issue on separation and divorce – sometimes spouses need interim financial support immediately and cannot wait the (sometimes) years to get to trial to determine the issue. On the other hand, the need arises early in the breakdown of the family relationship, when uncertain employment opportunities, uncertain income levels, and limited financial disclosure make a more comprehensive financial support order impossible to be determined. 

Check our more on the SSAG interim spousal support guidelines.

Best Divorce and Family Lawyers Get Results

Interim spousal support Orders are also a decisive step in the separation and divorce process – once granted (even on an “interim, without prejudice” basis), they set the current situation (status quo) of financial support until a change of financial circumstances or a final determination of spousal support.