There are many types of legislation that govern how issues are resolved when couples separate. Couples include same sex and opposite sex couples and include married couples, common law couples and persons who have children who are not married, nor have lived together for more than two years. Predominantly the Divorce Act, the Family Law Act and the Child Support Guidelines apply. The Divorce Act only applies to married couples and covers custody, access and support issues only, however, the Family Law Act applies to a broad spectrum of relationships where custody, division of assets and debt, child support, spousal support and protection of family members are at issue. The division of assets, for all types of marriage like relationships including married people, is governed by the Family Law Act.
Other legislation, regulations, court rules and guidelines apply. For example, there are parts of the Income Tax Act (Canada) that are relevant and should be considered upon the breakdown of a relationship. We also have the Spousal Support guidelines that, although has not been made into a law, are very helpful in determining the range of spousal support that should be paid by one spouse to another.
Upon the breakdown of a relationship there are many factors the parties to the relationship must consider. Decisions have to be made to identify what are family assets and how assets and debts accumulated during the relationship will be divided. The Family Law Act also provides for various exclusions of assets that may be relevant when considering who will retain what assets. Similarly, the parties need to consider if spousal support is payable. The law requires that one spouse may be obligated to contribute financially to the other spouse in certain circumstances. The receiving spouse must qualify under a particular criteria to be entitled to receive support from their estranged spouse.
There are also a variety of ways child and spousal support can be paid. In some circumstances a lump sum is appropriate, or as in most cases, a monthly amount payable for a specific period of time works best for the parties. Child support is most often paid monthly and is determined suing the payor’s ongoing income. In circumstances where the parenting time is divided equally, or close to equally, both parents’ income will be used to determine the appropriate amount of child support payable.