Can I Seek Spousal Support If I'm Working?

Those who seek spousal support may feel barred from seeking employment. After all, being employed means you don't need support, right? To the contrary, the law wants both people to become self-sufficient and self-sustaining following divorce or separation. If you are underemployed, looking for a job, retraining or returning to school, these factors contribute to your need for financial support from your former partner.

At Westside Family Law, we want to do what's right for you and your family. Every solution will require an in-depth discussion and a unique plan of approach based on your family's circumstances. We can help you seek spousal support while you get back into the work force or transition into your new, post-separation lifestyle.

Addressing Income Disparities In Divorce Or Separation

When two people live together for a long period of time, they can develop financial interdependence whether or not they share or jointly acquire assets and bank accounts. Moreover, spouses or cohabiting partners rarely have the exact same income, especially if one person gives up a career to take care of the home or children. Thus, an income discrepancy is the most common reason people pay or seek spousal support.

Generally speaking, BC's Family Law Act indicates that spousal support should be used to:

  • Address any economic advantages or disadvantages between partners due to the breakdown of their relationship
  • Support a spouse who has given up a job or restricted his or her career and/or working hours due to child care responsibilities
  • Promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse as much as possible and within a reasonable amount of time

As you might have noticed, the idea is to provide each person with the ability to move forward as an independent adult. For some, where income discrepancies are far off-balance, that could mean obtaining spousal support while also working and rebuilding your career.

What About My Rights As A Payer?

It's important to recognize that spousal support does not have to last forever. Some spousal support agreements or orders include a finite time period of support. In fact, it may not even be awarded at all — spousal support is not automatically awarded. Instead, the supposed recipient must be prepared to defend his or her reasons for seeking spousal support. Moreover, the Court will also look at the intended payer's ability to pay support, in addition to other factors.

We Provide Step-By-Step Guidance

Ultimately, whether or not you can obtain spousal support will depend on a variety of factors. The best-case scenarios are those where spouses work together on a solution. We encourage parties to negotiate or participate in mediation or collaborative law for this very reason. The agreements you make on your own will ultimately help you more quickly move on.

We are fully prepared to represent your interests in mediation, collaboration, negotiation or the Court to protect your and your family's interests. Our lawyers will guide you every step of the way. Contact our Vancouver law office by calling 604-800-8853 to get started. You may also send us an email to schedule a consultation.