Family Law’s Crapshoot: Is Canada Ready for Spousal Support Reform?

GeorgiaLeeLang057Family law lawyers across Canada will tell you that the payment of spousal support or alimony (as it was once called) is still the most difficult issue to resolve between spouses.

Up until 2006 spousal support awards were notoriously inconsistent. The outcome of a spousal support case depended on what day it was heard, what judge heard the case, and who counsel were on the case. It was family law’s crapshoot.

In 2006 Canada’s Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines ( were released, after the federal government empowered leading family law professors Carol Rogerson and Rollie Thompson to analyze and assess the nuances of spousal support and provide recommendations and guidelines that would help lawyers and judges determine who was entitled to support, how much should be paid and for how long it should be paid.

Today these Guidelines have the force of law, even though our legislators have never passed the Guidelines into law.

A calculation of spousal support under the Guidelines is based on the payor’s gross income (usually the husband) and the wife’s gross income, including common law spouses in most Provinces.

The general rule is that spouses who are entitled to support will receive it for a minimum of one half the length of the marriage and cohabitation and a maximum of all the years of the marriage or cohabitation.

So, if you were married or cohabited for ten years, you would receive support for a minimum of five years and a maximum of ten years. Herein lies one of the resolution dilemmas. Of course, husbands only want to pay for five years, while wives demand ten years of support.

The reality is, however, that judges in Canada are reluctant to make support orders that terminate on a fixed date, and routinely order that spousal support be “reviewed”, even though the Supreme Court of Canada in Leskun v. Leskun 2006 SCC 25 ( criticized the use of review orders.

A review of spousal support is an expensive process that entitles the recipient spouse to take a second crack at an indefinite spousal support order, as entitlement to support, amount of support and duration of support, are all up for grabs again.

For marriages twenty years or more, support is paid indefinitely, subject to a “material change in circumstances”, a legal test that rarely releases payor spouses from their support obligations.

Are Canadians supportive of the current alimony laws? While men’s rights groups criticize laws they say are unfair or prejudicial to them, the groundswell for the reform of alimony laws that is emerging in the United States has not yet crossed the border into Canada.

Most noteworthy are the reforms passed by the State of Massachusetts in their new Alimony Reform Act of 2011, ( heralded as the end of lifetime alimony in that state. Should Canada’s spousal support laws also be amended to promote independence after divorce and fairness for both spouses?

In Massachusetts’ groundbreaking new law, the following reforms have been passed by the House and the Senate:

1. Spouses shall only receive support for 60% of the number of months of marriage. In Canada a spouse will be supported for between 50% and 100% of the months of marriage or cohabitation with many support orders being of an indefinite duration.

2. For marriages between ten and fifteen years, the maximum term for support is 70% of the months of marriage and for marriages between fifteen years and twenty years, the maximum length for alimony is 80%of the months of marriage. In Canada a marriage in excess of twenty years results in an “indefinite” award of support, a more polite term for “permanent” support.

3. A second wife’s income and assets are excluded. Frequently Canadian courts allow evidence of a new partner’s financial circumstances, particularly where the payor spouse’s income has been reduced.

4. Cohabitation with a new partner for a continuous period of three months suspends, reduces or terminates alimony. In Canada cohabitation will only result in a change in support payment if the recipient spouse lives with a wealthy partner who fully supports him/her. Try proving that.

5. For the purposes of an alimony order, the court shall exclude from its income calculation gross income the court has already considered for setting a child support order. In Canada child support is calculated first, and the amount of child support ordered can result in a decreased amount of spousal support, subject to an increase when the child support has decreased or terminated.

6. Alimony should not exceed the recipient’s need or 30% to 35% of the difference between the parties gross incomes. Canadian courts consider “need” but favour an equalization of income between spouses that reflects the marital standard of living.

7. A second job or overtime income shall be excluded from the income calculation where the spouse works more than a single full-time equivalent position or the second job or overtime commenced after the initial spousal support order. Canadian payors must pay support on all income, including, in some instances, pension income that has already been divided between the spouses.

8. A payor spouse’s payment of health insurance or life insurance for a recipient spouse shall reduce the payor’s support payments. These payments are rarely taken into account by Canadian courts.

9. Alimony extensions are limited and require clear and convincing evidence. Extensions of spousal support are the norm in Canada.

10. Alimony ends with the remarriage of the recipient. Not in Canada. A payor spouse has the onus of proving to the court that a recipient spouse no longer needs support.

Will there be a grassroots movement in Canada to rethink spousal support in light of the reforms south of the border? I think it’s inevitable. Laws that are paternalistic and punitive have no place in modern Canadian society, however, stay-at-home moms must maintain their elevated position, even in the face of spousal support reforms.

Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang

64 thoughts on “Family Law’s Crapshoot: Is Canada Ready for Spousal Support Reform?

  1. If family assets are divided, then later, how often is it that spousal support awards and child maintenance amounts, are used to get what was not obtainable under the rules of property-asset division. Spousal support, as distinct from child support, should be based on ongoing demonstrated need; otherwise it is a slick backdoor to misuse the Courts for the malevolent purpose of obtaining a re-division of assets. Spousal support should be seen as temporary compensation for the dependency that was created arising from the life-style agreement made by the couple. What efforts and ability does the recipient have, and has made within ability, to become self-sufficient? What effort has the liable one, during the time of subsequent obligation, made to fulfill the obligation created? The legal onus must be shifted to the receiver to demonstrate real need annually.

    How often have we seen the ‘serial lady’ who uses the Courts to obtain both spousal and child support from several men at the same time, and such legal possibility was the devious plan all along. After divorce, money transfers between the former spouses often acquire a symbol of winning or losing, (keeping score) and who is ahead in the vindication game. They self-servingly think they are playing to the external world ‘of who really was the turkey in the marriage’. Of course, these combatants do not get it, that they are playing to empty bleachers and no audience, as no one else cares about a couple’s personal one-upmanship war-game.

    We need some new political champions to change the law, so that Family Law is not misused by the malevolent, and that the Courts are better protected against manipulation. As a starter, how about coming down hard on lawyers who knowingly put forward false affidavits from their clients, and have failed to show due diligence, that what they deposed, was true. There must be operational penalties against both lawyers and their clients for misleading the Court, and filing false allegations in Family Law.

    1. You hit the nail on the head. It is the lawyers that make their client lie at whatever costs and agree that it is about time that lawyers get penalized.

      1. @Dave Smith: Ditto.

        Lookup who said, “Women can lie to the courts with impunity”.

  2. The public policy slant toward the woman in this province has become a justification of abuses against men. If she says it, it must be so, is the way it goes. Especially if the man’s pleadings have been struck. So many precedents point out that when a man’s pleadings have been struck, the woman must provide fair, frank and full disclosure of all the facts. Instead, they lie, make incredible claims, and their words are taken as gospel by FRO. No due dilligence is done to ensure she is telling the truth. Men are being pushed to bankruptcy and suicide because of the actions of FRO and the women that organization works for (FRO certainly does nothing for men).

    What happened to women in divorce during the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s was reprehensible. Public policy was put into place to protect women because of that. I understand that. But public policy is now not only punishing men who deserve it, but men who through no fault of their own cannot (CANNOT not WON’T) pay the overly elevated levels of support being granted. I know of a case in which the man has been sentenced to 300 days of jail a year, on the assumption that this will force his hand and he’ll hand over money he does not have. He is being oppressed by the system. Who would hire someone who’ll be in jail for between 15 and 60 days at a stretch on a recurrent and constant basis (his ex ruined his ability to earn a living by killing his reputation in his industry)? So, he can’t even try to earn the quarter of a million dollars a year he’ll have to earn to stay out of jail, which means he’s guaranteed to be in jail … especially since the hearing as to whether or not he will actually be sent to jail will be in front of the very judges who put him in this position in the first place.

    And what about the man in southwestern Ontario who was pushed to suicide because FRO took his driver’s license, making it impossible for him to work and try to pay support (he was a truck driver). He tried to get a variance and they turned him down. Now, his ex-wife has no hope of getting spousal or child support and his children will never see their father again. I heard she’s suing FRO. I hope she wins.

    The men this is happening to did not cause the problem. Most of them weren’t even born yet, or were still babies back in the 40s, 50s and 60s. Yet, they are paying the price, and the price is far too high.

    1. . We need to push the goverment to get FRO accountable. I’m a payroll administrator and I hear horror stories about that place, and I’m going through it in my personal life. That agency needs a tribunal to make it fair for payors to be heard.

      I’m working on a blog to get the word out there, that we need a spousal support reform big time. Too many recipients are using the current laws for getting cash for life. They should get off their ……. and contribute to society like the rest of us, and move on.

      I was so sad when I read the story about the man that commited suicide, like I said I see guys coming into my office and I’m not sure if they will show up at work the next day. Companies have a big problem with this right now, absenteeism and work relateted accident.

      Happy to see people are starting to talk about it, and are looking at ways to stop the insanaties. The Ministry of Social Services is behind those laws, as they do not want to support those recipients that have stayed home for a long time. And we can’t forget lawyers that write these laws.

      1. So when is the law going to change? I am currently fighting with a former common-law partner who wants me to pay cash for life. There are no children involved, she just doesn’t want to work. We weren’t even married. If I had wanted to get married then I would have, but I didn’t. This is so horribly unjust for me.


  3. Lest we forget. You were council at Spencer v Spencer BCCA 265 an overwhelming case law development since SCC in Moge and Bracklow that entitled unlimited duration of spousal support and the equalization of spousal incomes was the norm. In the Spencer case the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal of a 45 year old wife who had been married for 29 years. The husband earned $74,000 plus bonuses compared to the wife’s income which was less than $20,000. The Court of Appeal upheld the trial judge’s decision that the wife was entitiled to limited support for a period of two years. I would think that this Spencer case, which was not consistent with the law in the rest of Canada was a major breakthrough for you in your career as a lawyer and I am curious to know why you think that this case which is a “grassroot” to changing the law in Canada is not being used in spousal support trials within the courts in Canada?

  4. Hi there I have just been served with papers (recipient) to “review” my spousal support. I am a university student trying to finish my degree (3rd yr) and still need it. I am living with a man, but it is not his responsibility to support me while I go to school. He also pays support to his previous spouse for the children as he should be. He lives with a woman and has for over 2 years. Since he is asking the courts to take my partners income into consideration, would it be fair that the courts take his partners as well? I dont mind absolving the spousal if the child support went up because of both their incomes were considered. I just need some more time to finish my education, I was a stay at home Mom gratefully. I was a self litigant for my divorce and I just need some direction as to rebute. Thank you in advance.

    1. Agree!
      You say your new man shouldn’t be responsible to support you so what makes you feel like your PAST partner should.
      Get a job and stop being a leach!

  5. When my marriage disolved I had fewer assets than when it started. I tried to better myself career wise and through training through out the marriage in order to benefit my family. My ex wife wouldn’t work, go to school, wouldn’t even volunteer at school. It is my fault for not seeing who she was before I married her but why should I now pay her to be lazy??
    My children have inherited my work ethic as they both have jobs. She is lazy and thanks to family court can remain that way.
    Someone please explain to me how this is fair.
    My kids are almost 18 and once they are I will be leaving the country so as to not pay her anymore spousal support. Canada loses a contributing member of society but it gets to keep a leech.
    Something needs to be done.

  6. Family law is supposed to promote self sufficiency for recipients but it does the opposite. It goes out of its way to encourage the woman to avoid work and thereby render herself unemployable. tricks such as allowing a woman to avoid work after Separation just by saying she found it upsetting, then enrolling in courses where there could be no hope of getting a job, then quitting the course immediately after trial then saying she wants to just not work goes on and on. Publicover v Hulsman , Hulsman worked as bank teller in the marriage , had 2 years off before ending the marriage, and hasnt worked for the past 7 years , despite only getting 50% access to the kids. She’s living with a guy who is wealthy but still takes over half her ex’s income while sitting on her fat…very fat …

  7. From what I have seen of it, family law is such a disaster in Canada that it will drive many men from ever wanting to marry. Women win, men lose.

    1. Ken, do women win when men are opting to walk away from the sacraments of marriage? Do children win? Does society win? Does Mr. Harper care, when he knows he can just import more voters from abroad?

  8. I will never, ever visit Canada for I cannot believe their laws on spousal support. I am a woman married to a man who has tried to rectify this situation in the 4 yrs I have known him and many yrs before that. She would not give him the number needed so he could deduct from his taxes after many yrs of begging. Why should he not have this number he is entitled to it. Her sons are 40,39 and 33 why should she be getting support when she is able to work. Canada’s spousal support laws are for the birds and the people behind them should be put in jail for extortion because that is all it is legal extortion. I understand some men do not take care of their responsibilities but why should the good men and be penalized for a lifetime. Thank God I live in the U.S of A. As far as I am concerned the woman and I use that term loosely and all the other women in Canada that use the support as welfare yes I said welfare should go to jail for racketeering.

  9. Once last thing. He has gotten a lawyer and tried to work it out with this extortionist only to have her lawyer stall in the proceedings time after time. How much is a person suppose to take when they go the legal route only to have their actions continually shut down. That bi ch better be glad she is not in the US because she would be laughed out of court with her legal actions. Women stop trying to make men pay for a lifetime when the marriage is over. As long as he takes care of his children and gives you the support you need for a reasonable time frame that is all. Making him pay forever because the marriage ended is a sure way to find out that ” Karma Is A BITCH.”

  10. Family Law is extremely biased here in Canada and I cannot wait to leave this place. My ex had an affair and left the marriage while I worked overseas. She refused to work but got ample qualifications to do so. She moved in with her common law partner for 5 years but her lawyers thought her how to manipulate the system and give false affidavits saying they do call each other husband and wife but they are not common law as no finances are intermingled. Go figure……Ask CRA and they will tell you that one year together you have to file taxes as common law. Yet the lawyers help her lie cause she is not with Bill Gates but with a self employed partner that can declare whatever he wants as we all know how contractors operate. In the meantime, she goes off to Mexico regularly and support her and her live in partner.
    I have pointed this out to FMEP and they asked me to draft a letter as they do not have the power to chase an ex spouse that is fooling the system but they will chase the payor if he misses a payment. I refuse to quit working until I meet a judge in court as I am no dead beat dad and will continue to pay child support but as for spousal support, I am ready to go to jail and make a stop to it……if possible before considering my serious health issues….. According to her crooked lawyer, I should pay till I am 65 and continue working overseas and keep on paying and contributing taxes and support…… Will I continue to live in Canada?? Not likely not unless the biased laws change and change soon as this is down right thievery. Shame Canada, you need to wake up to the real world and adjust these out dated laws and treat parents and ex spouses equally.

  11. Hello fellow Canadians,

    I have been doing a lot of research into how a person can use Mobile phone technology as evidence that an ex-spouse has a cohabiting partner.
    In the US a court order can be obtained easily and lawyers using the e911 bill to obtain phone metadata and prove without any doubt that a persons phone is present at a ex spouse house.

    All phone mobility providers are required by law to retain every phone’s spatial locations triangulated by cell towers and stored in servers together with call history and text messaging some for a period of 24 months. Density maps as used for crime analysis by cops or other GIS analysis are being submitted in Family law cases. The hardest thing to get an ex spouse to do is admit to her cohabitation while being a leech to the payer and the system. Some do not even claim taxes as a common law partners.

    In the US and Europe the success rates are huge using this technology and cops use it to track criminals at the scene of a crime.

    But……in Canada due to our outdated PRIVACY ACT, only cops can acquire this data via a court order in criminal cases only. Why?

    Is it not criminal to not declare taxes? Is it not criminal to drive an ex spouse to bankruptcy? Is it not criminal to cause a person to go in a state of depression and commit suicide? Is it not a criminal act to have these leeches take tax payers money and claim hardships while they are living off two different men or possibly others?

    When are the Canadian law makers and politicians going to wake up to these massive scams? Where are our MLAs? Who has the authority to move this proposition forward?

    Why cannot the FMEP also regulate that ex spouse are abusing the system and not be the sole protectors of the scamming receiptients and provide no support for the Payor?

    Search any Family Law case in Canada and none are found to exist that used this technology. There are cases that have tried but were halted due to the Privacy Act. This could be a huge huge huge implementation that can alleviate so much sufferings and deceit. It can also be used that an honest woman is not cohabiting so it can work both ways.

    Where are the new brains in Canada that can commence to use technology to acquire true Justice???
    Why are we not like our southern neighbors who are using this technology to solve crime and deceit as happens here in Canada.

    I really think Canada is not as civilized as our politicians and law makers tend to make us believe it is.

    Shame Canada.

  12. As a payor, it frustrating to see no definite time lines, it only absolutely encourages or obligates dependence and entitlement.
    As the payor, I don’t mind paying 75% of the term of mairrage, just to be able to see a timeline plus retiring someday soon. in my 60’s. She unfortunately prefers part time work with an early ‘retirement’ (there is more to life than work) and feels entitled to cash for life. There is absolutely no motivation of financial planning or independence for the future.
    Defined timelines would make things more clear to all parties involved and reduce the acrimony, and cut into all the unecessary court times and legal costs (which of course is a source of profit for some and perhaps the likely source of protracting things as long as possible in the current laws and legal environment).

  13. Yes, it is, and always will be, plus there will imo be gender bias, as well, in the courts.

    A word to the wise: Be wise, and stay out of courts. Get mediation, friends, outsiders. Don’t make crazy demands that will only inflame emotions and make an out of court settlement possible.

    1. I wish it were that simple Trex but it is in my case the woman was making crazy demands for spousal support and my lawyer talked me into signing an argeement that i should have never. I should have gone to court and had my ex prove her entitlement to SS. My ex worked her entire life with a short break after our child was born. Now she is to stressed, to old (54), to unskilled, to injured. to work. It is all fabrication so she can keep her Sposaul Support welfare. It is a messed up system that is way to easy to take advantage of and abuse. If it were the goverment forking out the money their would be alot more scrutiny of how much and for how long. The system is broke and need to be fixed.
      Rant Ends.

      1. Sounds exactly like my story Patrick. This is really a lottery win for for women who are willing to take advantage of it.

    1. What about if a woman work all her life and exhausted her savings to put a man in a medical school for long years , does all the domestic works in the house plus taking care of expenses and absorbing stress from him for all those years. Then after acquiring his medical license he decided to just turn his back off the relationship.Does these woman deserve a support ? Now that this woman suffer from major depression following separation and cant work is it not fair for her to be supported like the way she supported this man? Just saying…

  14. i have been paying $800 a month alimony to my ex-wife since 2005/2006 and will soon be 10 years, I cannot buy a home, live pay check to pay check and my ex owns a $300,000 home in Mississauga Ontario that I’m helping to pay for. Can I legally fight to have this alimony terminated after 10 years… She lives in Ontario and I live in Quebec for last 9 years….. Help me please…..

    1. I’m female, divorced and couldn’t agree more. It should be ILLEGAL for anyone to enter a marriage without knowing the facts. for men its likely that they will have to lose their house, their kids their paycheck if the marriage breaks down

  15. Canadian family law cost me my daughter, and also my patriotism for my own country of Canada. It is draconian what is done to men here, and no one seems to care. And worse, the children are the victims, as they lose their dads. It does not seem to show any signs of change, and the lawyers and the women are the winners.

  16. Good morning all I’m seeking urgent advice please! My spouse of two years was preciously married for 20 years to his ex they got immigrated to Canada 3 Years back and have two children, 19 and 14 years old..this woman has already taken every penny ever belonged to my husband plus a house in missisuaga worth 500,000$ we received a legal notice last month claiming child support and spousal support of amount we cannot afford we currently live in Switzerland and the amoitt asked can’t be met by my husbands income.. he is not a Canadian neither is the ex they just have a PR I’d like to add that it’s saddening to see women lying and cheating the document sent to us by her lawyer states all false information regarding money matters before separation my husband had paid 100,000$ lump sum amount to her as an agreement to be used for the children for next three years so as to avoid court and other problems but unfortunately she’s now sued him claiming he’s never given them anything…is this fair?? Were planning to start our family but we’re afraid on how that’s gonna work with all this burden..pls advice if even staying out of Canada will make a problem for him and what if he doesn’t entertain this cheap fake case at all? Is there no justice for a man??? I’m afraid for him

    1. I have been separated since April 2012 after finding out my ex wife had a lesbian relationship with a assistant teacher at her school. I only noticed the changes in my ex’s behavior after tearing a tendon in my ankle and requiring surgery and being home for several months. It was a tough time, I have two boys now ages 16 and 12 who have never seen me argue or fight with my ex. Both my kids are athletes and play rep sports and I demanded they be with me 50% of the time. I make $103,000 as a police officer and my ex makes $43,000 as a student teacher. That’s our gross pay. At the time she wanted to remain living together, but have separate lives. But it was a major issue when my kids kept asking me where their mom was at 2 and 3 in the morning. I couldn’t live a lie in front of my kids. So I bought her out. I paid her $225,000.00 the house was appraised at $630,000 and I took over the existing mortgage of $207,000, leaving me almost $450,000 in debt. I paid her that money because she bought a 3 bedroom townhouse and she needed the money right away because she put a deposit down. It gave me 2 weeks to get an agreement done. I wanted an order but I gave her the money prior because she had been pretty trustworthy up to that point. The ex after getting the money said she didn’t want anything else from me including spousal support, no child support none of my pension she wasn’t going to be mean to me. We went to mediation in March of 2013 which was the first time I was kicked in the face because the mediator told me I need to pay child support, spousal support pay half my pension and half my RRSP’s. I was floored because I was living in the matrimonial home in order to give my kids stability and hearing the amounts I knew I could lose my home. If I had known I would have sold and gotten the order. At that time I agreed to pay $881 a month in child support and $509 a month in spousal only for three months the ex was off from school because she claims unemployment in the summer months she’s off. Go figure. I had a agreement drafted and she turned it down saying she wanted spousal support every month, but now she wants $1600 a month. $818 in child support and $782 for spousal support. I said this is crazy because I care for my kids 50% of the time took over all the debts. Well I paid $1600 a month for all of 2014 and tried to get my tax credit for spousal support but revenue Canada said they needed the separation agreement to see what I paid. The cheques with child and spousal support amounts written on the back wasn’t enough. Well we don’t have an agreement yet. So for all the spousal I’ve paid Revenue Canada owes me 40% back. I hired a lawyer and to be honest that was an expensive waste of time. My ex was taking her time on everything, costing me money. She Took a trip with the kids to Cuba and here I am selling my home moving a 4 bedroom house on my own and putting everything into storage. I moved in with my parents who also sold their home to downsize at the time. It was humiliating at the age of 42 living at home. But that wasn’t the problem. Every month house prices in the GTA were going up almost $20,000 a month. I had to buy quickly as inflation was killing me and possibly leaving me in a position of never owning a home. I bought a semi detached home with soiled carpets a roof that was leaking, broken showers and all. I thank God for my parents. They helped me to fix my home which isn’t their responsibility. They are retired and in their seventies. Me and the boys moved in after two months of hard work that we did on our own. It wasn’t the same for the boys even though we weren’t far from the old house so they could still attend the same school. Well May 2015 was the first time we received financial disclosure from my ex. Things changed again as her lawyer claims that our schedule is close to the 60/40 child care split so my ex should get full child support. Totaling $1445 in child support and $655 in spousal totaling $2100 a month. I told them they are —-ing crazy. My lawyer told me some months just based on the days and my schedule that she was over the 60/40 split but year round she has no basis for asking that because I had them more than 43%. I personally think the lawyers play games to make more money so watch their movements. We are scheduled to head back to court for a case conference. I had to borrow money from my parents again because I’ve already paid $23,500 in lawyer fees which I paid on credit cards. Unfortunately the bank will not give me a secured line of credit because I don’t have a separation agreement that outlines what my obligations are. From what my bank manager states if I’m ordered to pay these amounts I will lose my new home. It’s been 3 1/2 years later,I’ve moved on in life met a great woman who has two kids. So now I have 3 boys and 1 daughter. We all decided to move in on August 2015 which was a challenge at first with the kids but if it wasn’t for my girlfriend, I would have lost my second home as well. So my current status is my ex wants full child support plus alimony totaling $2100 a month. My monthly income after taxes Is $4200 a month. So this means I must survive on $2100 a month. I fired my lawyer because they went through 3 different lawyers within the firm for my case costing me literally $23,500 in emails faxes and 1 court appearance. I am currently auditing that firm. But have hired a better lawyer who isn’t just taking my money. Your paying them money and they need to give you answers. It appears now moving in my girlfriend shows that now I can afford to pay the full amount of child and spousal support according to the ex’s lawyer. What does my obligation have to do with my new girlfriend. I still have no agreement in place 3 1/2 years later. God forbid I die because, I can guarantee my ex will claim we are still legally married with no agreement in place and she’s entitled to everything, Which I’m sure no court will dispute at this stage. lawyers are a waste of money I know I could have put that money into my kids education, but today I’m fighting for my right to live like any other person who is hard working individual. It’s crazy knowing I risk my life daily only taking home $28,800 a year as a police man in the City of Toronto. I will keep you posted on my case and if I can make new case law to help men and women in my position I will.

  17. Family law in Canada is a complete farse. I feel sorry for the divorced men of this Country. If a Woman ends a relationship after 18 years with nothing more than a note when the husband comes home from a business trip, why is she entitled to Spousal Support?
    I think every case should be considered individually. If I quit my job would I still expect my employer to pay me? If the woman
    leaves with no evidence of abuse, then no Spousal Support should be awarded. If a woman works, and has investments over
    $100,000.00, no Spousal Support should be awarded. I do not understand who made these laws and what they were smoking
    when they did. I am a woman and I certainly did not expect my husband to support me when we separated. I stood on my
    own two feet which is the way it should be. This Government truly needs to wake up and be fair to all citizens.

  18. I am glad to find this site. I pay alimony without no definite end date. This site has answered my questions. Been paying for length of marriage and it’s time to get a variation.

  19. Unfortunately it has become a cash for life opportunity for those inclined (or encouraged to), and a litigation pot of gold for vested interests.
    It unfortunately would be career suicide for a politician to move to put an end to this farce.
    Do like they are in some states, make it a defined % of the term of marriage, end of discussion.

  20. I read almost everything. I couldn’t finish as my eyes were constantly welling up.

    What’s truly sad is the number of hard working women who have and continue as wonderful examples of what ‘equality’ means only to be insulted by the lazy, freeloading women destined to rolling back society. If they (free loading women) get their way, maybe one day soon women won’t be allowed to vote anymore either/again.

    Married 19 years…separated for over a year now…lawyers taking our children’s (because my ex will always be mom and I will always be dad) future financial opportunities at $500+/hour away…forever. I thought the Family Law was to put ‘the best interests of the children first’. Still no agreement in place. The lawyers assist the government’s agenda by maintaining payments “similar to alimony” without tax break relief for the payor which is therefore at no cost to the government coffers. Its all part of the THEIR plan. To be clear, I give my world…my everything for my kids…always have…always will. But sit on your ass eating bon bons watching Y&R all day and your employer would fire you (i.e. no f***ing pay cheque) for being AWAL.

    Sadly, marriage is not a union between two people formed out of love. Sure, the ceremony is…the feelings at the time are, but the truth is…marriage is a word used by the courts to take a lazy ass who would otherwise have become a burden to society and obligate a sole individual till death do they part. So there is no such thing as NOT being married once married…divorce is the word used by the courts to ensure you will always be tracked and abused for simply having fallen in and out of love.

    My children are quickly becoming jaded about the truth of love between two people…I love my kids terribly like parents do..I’m heartbroken for them. This was never how they were to see the world. This certainly is not the Canada I used to love (this hurts too).

    I will watch your posts as long as I can. I would love to fight this fight with all of you but I dont think I’m going to make it. I hope and pray the rest of you do.

    1. Hang on in there .. the courts will eventually impute a wage , keep up with a motion to change .. honestly it might seem like all is lost but I promise you it will turn the corner and get better, Why is she not working ? What could she do for a job ? Why can’t you get 50% ..get an assessor ..insist on getting a custodial assessment done ..its worth it because these counsellors tend to favor 50% ..please keep your spirits up I know its horrible and unfair but it will improve ..

  21. Pls tell me husband is a victim of a greedy mother of his two kids who filed for alot of money an false financial disclosures we did hire a lawyer but it’s costing us a lot of money..he is only an rp holder not a Canadian passport holder..suppose if we move to central Europe and completely not entertain this case, is there a chance we could live in peace and away or will there be official people coming after us for not entertaining this case

  22. My ex common law partner is applying for spousal support because he doesn’t want to work. We don’t have child, and I supported him for a whole year before we separated. We have an unwritten agreement when we separated, and I gave him more than 10K after we separated as we agreed. He hasn’t been work for 2.5 years, and now he is run out of the money and applying for spousal support. This whole thing is horrible, how can the law even allowed it’s happening?

  23. I am thoroughly disgusted and ashamed at the legal system. My husband, who had been married before, separated from his wife in 2000. They had two children. He paid his mandatory child support, and spousal support for 7 years – which keep in mind was also the duration of their marriage. In 2006, his spousal support payments stopped, and the divorce was granted. We got married in 2007, had a child in 2008. In 2014 both of his children (from the previous marriage) were finished high school. We we back to court to prove that they were either in or out of school. Both boys were enrolled in school, but one had dropped out, and had been out of school for four months before she brought forth this evidence in court – and after we paid for both boys to go to college. Then, during another court date, she brought a Dr.’s note stating the child was depressed. This prolonged support another 5 months. A judge “cautiously advised” the payments to continue for the one child (who was depressed) and stopped the payments for the other one who had actually finished post secondary.
    When returning for the long motion, a judge actually re-instated spousal support. He left it as indefinite and unless there was a material change. We lost our breath….how did it come to this? How did this happen? She brought in Dr.’s notes for herself, stating she was depressed….YUP – that’s it….depressed. He also made it retro-active for 5 months (child and spousal). $2000.00 a month, for a woman who has an education, who has work experience, whom my husband was only married to for 7 year, and separated himself from her….16 years ago. It has been an uphill battle. My husband has been in counselling and has joined Divorced Father’s support groups. We are continuing to fight. I feel bad for all those men out there who can’t fight because the system isn’t fair or just, and they have no money to help themselves. The major problem with the system is that every time you go back to court you sit in front of a new judge. I get it – there needs to be a biased decision. But really? I agree with all these men and women on this blog. I’m ashamed of our country for treating its citizens with such neglect and disrespect. My husband and I are two hard working, contributors. We always have been. His ex, can work, she just plays the game and for some reason, she keeps winning. If we were to poll the population, I’m sure 98% would say that these stories and the system is damaged. The other 2% are the scorned, angry ex’s who want the ‘cash for life’.
    It’s been two years, and we’re still fighting.

    1. We are paying because the wealthy don’t want to have to deal with the lazy ass bitches (like we do?). They (the wealthy) created bullshit laws to deflect social responsibility and make it a life sentence for an individual. I’m surprised THEY haven’t made suicide an acceptable insurance claim…oh yeah…THEY own the insurance companies too.

      1. Agreed!
        It’s a very unnatural reality. You actually feel like you’re living in a dream. it’s so hard to believe this is reality. We never thought this would happen.

  24. Ms Lang, you initially wrote this blog in 2011. Can you please post an update to where things lie in Canada with respect to alimony reform?

    I am a payer. Of course I think I pay too much. I would really like to see more definition about how to calculate amounts to be paid and determining length of payments. I can appreciate there are times where a payer should be obligated for a greater amount or term (for instance if one spouse has no education or cannot speak the language – literally has no means to support themselves). But for the vast majority of receivers, they are able bodied people. Family law says that both spouses are obligated to be or become financially self sufficient. What is self sufficient? What number on Line 150 equates to “self sufficiency”?

    The “indefinite” term for spousal support is equally problematic in my opinion because it does not impose a sense of need or urgency to meet the “financially self sufficient” obligation. Why put in the effort if you can be subsidized indefinitely by your former spouse? While the courts are reluctant to put timelines on support payments because they “can’t look into a crystal ball”, I think would be reasonable for the courts to look at the average time and cost of an education or re-education (depending on current education of receiving spouse), assess those costs, plus time after education, and determine an average amount of time for someone to get to a salary bracket where they no longer require financial assistance from the former spouse. Recipients then have a number and time that they can work with, and Payers have an end date they can work with. If the recipient does not become self sufficient in that time frame it’s not for a lacking of effort and support by the payer, and that leaves only the recipient as responsible for their own outcome.

  25. The best way to avoid all of this, young men, is to *never get married in Canada (or US)*. People upgrade partners now like they upgrade smart phones, and there is no permanence in marriage these days to justify contracts with the state that bind one to a lifetime of servitude. Divorce courts and family law in Canada favors women shamefully, and they are assumed to be the defacto caregivers when things arrive in court. There needs to be two major changes in Canada (1) child and spousal support is NOT so lazy and entitled women can have early retirement and (2) women (or men) who are shown to have lied and slandered their ex partners should see jail time and big fines. Also, (3) in the name of equality, if HIS new spouse’s income is counted under “net household income” then HER new spouse’s income should be counted as well. And we ALL know that many women simply LIE about their new marital/common law status to keep the cash rolling in. AGAIN, there should be significant and severe penalties for this type of fraud.

    Another thing young men should be aware of is a new precedent called “step parent child support”. If you think you’re doing her a big favor by taking in her and her kids, you most certainly are. And you’ll be support *another man’s kids* until they are 18 or out of school (up to 25) long after she’s moved on to her next man. Important to note that any number of men along this woman’s “relationship history” can become paying step parents.

    There is a divorce industry in North America. It gives women incentives to leave their marriages (or common law arrangements) and cash in. It’s time to start voting against this with our wallets. DO not marry or move in with a North American female. Do not be a host to a parasitic North American woman. MGTOW all the way my brothers. Yeah, they’re “not all like that”… but enough sure are.

  26. You’re so interesting! I don’t think I’ve read anything such as this before.
    So great to find somebody with original thoughts on this subject.

    Seriously.. i appreciate you starting this up. This site is a thing
    that’s needed on the web, someone with some originality!

  27. I am in the middle of a common-law case…. 16 years…. I would love some help and I would love my case to be an example as it is a very interesting case….

  28. It would be really great to put a stop to this unethical situation. Who is in charge of the spousal support scam in Canada and how can it be changed or actually replaced with a fair separation system? I feel the legal community are in it for vast sums of money, ie $500/ hour, so they seriously won’t want the divorce laws to be changed and lower their cash cow. How can financially abused ex husbands come together and abolish these
    Unfair ,biased and reprehensible spousal support “not quite laws”. Anyone have an answer, I’d love to change the world, for the better!

  29. Alimony is clear and simple extortion IMHO. I had a 20 year marriage end and currently I am staring down the barrel of $5000 month support INDEFINITELY. I am a good earner (about 120k year) but how in the world can it be fair to pay out one half of my gross income??? Oh yea, you should know THERE ARE NO CHILDREN. Because I made the decision to be a solid spouse and not require my wife to work I will now wear a $5000 a month yoke till I turn 65.

    I also asked my attorney what if I want to retire early? Apparently the Court would not allow that. Can you imagine that? I don’t even get to decide when I want to retire.

    Read the post a little above this one, great advice is given; DO NOT LIVE COMMONLAW OR GET MARRIED, EVER.

    I can see no option other than sell everything and vanish. Very sad state of affairs.

    1. We need to lobby for change to insist that marriage like any other legal contracts , clearly states the obligations up front and no couple is allowed to marry without legal advice, nor get married without a solid pre-nup . Its not romantic, but no other contract can allow you to sign up with no idea what you will be liable for. If this was a work contract you would have every right to say the terms weren;t clear – but the Government doesn;t like that , it wants to make sure people get married and if it falls apart the Govt doesnt have to support the wife.

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