The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are available to help married and common law spouses create fair separation agreements. However, the guidelines are complicated, as a variety of factors have to be considered. Matters can become particularly complex and contentious if one spouse fails to fully disclose his or her income or tries to hide assets.
In British Columbia, the federal Divorce Act and the provincial Family Law Act can be used to determine matters of spousal support. If you and your spouse were legally married, then your support order can be based on either of the laws. It is important to speak with a spousal support lawyer about which law applies in your case. If you and your partner were not legally married, then your support order will be based on the Family Law Act.
The provision of financial information is required of both spouses if one spouse applies for support. That information must be exchanged between the spouses, as well as provided to the court. By law, this financial information must be “full and true,” and failing to meet that standard could result in financial penalties and changes to the separation agreement or support order.
Spousal support agreements can be negotiated out of court, but the matter may have to be decided in court if the parties can’t agree. If there is dispute over income and asset disclosure, then it may also be necessary for a lawyer to use a variety of resources to conduct a factual investigation of the other spouse’s income. Those resources may include forensic accountants and other professionals with experience in uncovering hidden assets.
At the Quay Law Centre, we help British Columbia spouses accurately determine income and reach fair separation agreements. You can learn more about our law practice at our Spousal Support overview.