Divorce: Should a payee get more money after payor gets a raise?

One of the most contentious issues when it comes to family law is how much one spouse pays to another after increases in income. When couples divorce, one spouse often has to pay support to the other. But what happens if the payor gets a hefty salary increase at work or additional bonuses that weren't factored into the initial agreement? That is what one separated British Columbia recently had to deal with.

The couple in question was married for 17 years when they decided to part ways with a separation agreement in place. The husband was earning $185,000 a year and paid his estranged wife $1,400 a month in support with a review set in three year's time, but which never happened. He eventually asked the court to stop his support payments he had been making for almost 14 years to the tune of about $220,000. In short, the woman resisted the man's attempts to stop payment and said payment should have been reviewed at the three-year point, suggesting her former spouse owed her even more money since his income had increased substantially over the years.

A British Columbia Supreme Court judge ruled the man should continue paying support of $1,400 a month at which time both sides appealed that decision. A B.C. Court of Appeal judge said because the woman didn't work outside the home during the marriage, the couple made a joint investment in one career by having the wife take on the bulk of the care for the couple's children while the husband pursued a career outside the home and sent the matter back to the trial court to determine a payment amount.

A British Columbia divorce lawyer can explain the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines to a client who is unclear about them. There are many variables that can affect these payments. Whether a client is a payor or a payee, it is best to have some knowledge of the laws that govern spousal support.

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