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Easy to Establish Entitlement to Spousal Support

by Daniel Gloade on March 20, 2015

In the case of Knowles v. Lindstrom, 2015 ONSC 1408 (CanLII), the Wife claimed interim spousal support.  “Interim” means the span of time between the separation until the court looks at the issue again.  This second inquiry is usually at the final trial of the matter.  You can read the entire case here.

This decision demonstrates the low threshold to establish entitlement to spousal support.   Here are the facts of this case:

  • The parties were together from 2002 to 2011;
  • At the time of separation, the Wife was 60 years old and the Husband was 66 years old;
  • The Husband’s current annual income is approximately $1.5 million;
  • Through tax loopholes, the Husband did not pay taxes on his income.
  • The Wife was unemployed during the relationship.  She did not help the Husband earn money but did manage the parties’ numerous household, deal with the details of purchasing new homes and was an emotional support while the Husband attended alcohol rehabilitation;
  • After the separation, the Wife obtained job as a clothing store manager.  She earns about $78 000.00 per year;
  • There was no children of the relationship;

The Honourable Mr. Michael J. Penny acknowledged that one criteria for spousal support is compensation for the loss of income arising from the recipient’s role in the marriage.  Penny J. held that the Wife’s activity was beneficial to her then Husband.

Penny J. focused on the second criteria for spousal support, however.  That ground is need.  He acknowledge that the person requesting spousal support does not have to prove that the marriage caused the desperate financial situation.  Second, “need” in this context does not mean the necessities of life but what is needed for the recipient to live the lifestyle he or she grew accustomed to live while the parties were together.  Although the Wife was earning a substantial income, she was living a lifestyle far less lavish than the one she lived while with the Husband.

Penny J. also considered the fact that DivorceMATE software automatically calculates the Canadian taxes the payor must pay when calculating spousal support.  This was inappropriate because the Husband’s income was in American dollars and that he did not pay taxes.  The Husband’s income had to be “grossed up” and “changed” to Canadian dollars to provide a more accurate figure for spousal support.

The Husband was ordered to pay the Wife interim spousal support of $25 000.00 per month.

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