Archive for the ‘ spousal support ’ Category

Zip Your Lip – The Sequel


Don’t let loose lips sabotage your success!


The kitchentabledivorce approach is one which encourages open, honest and transparent communication between separated spouses as an alternative to costly scorched earth legal proceedings.


But there are limits. And as the following real life example demonstrates, talking with your ex before you know your own legal rights can cause big problems when trying to reach a final settlement.


A spouse came to see me for independent legal advice before signing a Separation Agreement prepared by counsel for her ex. I reviewed the agreement and advised her that the spousal support terms were grossly unfair considering the long, (25) year nature of the marriage, and the significant disparity in incomes. Husband’s income was roughly six times that of spouse.


Not only was the monthly amount of proposed spousal support thousands of dollars less than appropriate in accordance with the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, but the term of support was incredibly short (3 years), rather than “indefinite” subject to review.


Accordingly, I advised spouse to consider re-negotiating spousal support terms. Spouse appeared initially relieved. Unfortunately, spouse then recalled earlier discussion with husband regarding support. Now faced with the awkward position of either attempting to seek fairness and upsetting ex or accepting grossly unfair terms, she decides to simply accept the inequality.


Would it have made a difference, before spousal support numbers were thrown around like cheap confetti, if the spouse had obtained legal advice before talking with her ex? I think it would have provided a critical reality check, resulting in much improved terms of support.


So before you meet to sit around the kitchen table to talk legal issues with your ex get some good family law advice to understand your legal rights.


It doesn’t require a major financial investment in legal costs, and best of all, you won’t sabotage your future settlement success, or peace of mind in the process.





Smart Divorce – Part 1

Sometimes saving money on your divorce can cost you a bundle!

“What do you mean I may owe my ex spousal support, we’re already divorced”?

Yet once again I had the unenviable task of informing my client that just because he was divorced did not mean that his ex couldn’t still claim spousal support.

There appears a common (but wrong) perception that once a party is divorced it somehow puts an end to whatever legal obligations may be owed to the ex.

In the case of my client, he and his ex wrote up an informal agreement at the time of separation that addressed property matters but simply failed to mention anything about spousal support.

Now years later, following the divorce, his ex had fallen on hard times and decided to claim spousal support.

How could this happen, since Courts in BC have a longstanding policy to deny divorces until all matters are settled between parties?

Easy, couples like my client and his ex can simply decide (or may actually believe) that there are no outstanding matters, or nothing that can’t be fixed at a later date.

In addition, to ostensibly save money on lawyers and legal advice, both clients can retain the services of one of many do-it yourself divorce companies which don’t appear all that interested in knowing, or asking, whether the parties legal interests have been properly protected.

So what’s my advice to avoid unpleasant post divorce surprises?

Your objective should be resolving all outstanding issues with your ex by means of a legally binding Separation Agreement, before applying for your divorce.

As regular readers of my blog know, smart divorce is what kitchentabledivorce is all about.

Stay tuned, and over the course of weeks to follow I’ll be showing you how.


“Dead keep paying”, sounds like your typical tacky tabloid come-on story line, like “Zombie Wins Custody”. Only this time, it’s TRUE!! (not the Zombie story, although I’m certain some spouses would dispute that).

Or to put it more precisely it will be if recent proposed amendments to family law in British Columbia actually make it to law. Let me explain.

Currently, if you are paying, or receiving spousal support, to or from a former spouse, the death of the paying spouse will typically result in the termination of spousal support. In a way it makes sense, when payor dies, payor’s obligation dies along with payor.

However, to be clear there can be exceptions. A judge could order that such spousal support obligations will bind the estate of the paying spouse, although I’m not sure it’s settled law in BC that a judge can make such an order. Also the spouses’ themselves can agree in writing that such payments will survive death. In my experience such exceptions are extremely rare.

But a legal resurrection is about to take place.

 Under proposed amendments, unless the spouses agree otherwise in an agreement or court order, such spousal payments will continue and be binding upon the estate of the paying spouse. This is good news if you happen to be the receiving spouse, and not so good news if you happen to be the paying spouse. But then again if you happen to be the paying spouse you’ll be dead, so it won’t really be a big concern for you, just your executor.

So while death may bring with it a welcome relief from earthly burdens for many, unless you plan accordingly, making payments to your former spouse from beyond the grave won’t be one of them!