Thursday, September 04, 2008

Canada's Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines: Final Version Online

The final version of Canada's Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines has been published online at the federal Department of Justice website.

For the sake of easy access, I am reproducing the Guidelines' table of contents, with links embedded, below:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

1 BACKGROUND — THE CURRENT LAW OF SPOUSAL SUPPORT

1.1 The Legislative Framework
1.2 Judicial Interpretation
1.3 The Problem of Spousal Support and the Need for Guidelines
1.4 Why Guidelines Now?

2 THE GUIDELINES PROJECT

2.1 The Nature of the Guidelines: Informal and Advisory
2.2 The Challenges of the Project
2.2.1 Theory and practice
2.2.2 Reflecting current practice, changing current practice
2.2.3 National guidelines and local spousal support cultures
2.3 The Development of the Guidelines and the Release of the Draft Proposal
2.4 The Second Stage of the Process: Information, Feedback and Revision
2.5 The Response to the Advisory Guidelines
2.5.1 Widespread use of the Advisory Guidelines
2.5.2 Criticisms of the Guidelines
2.5.3 The Advisory Guidelines in the courts
2.5.4 Results of the feedback: "the ranges are about right"
2.5.5 Unsophisticated use

3 AN OVERVIEW OF THE ADVISORY GUIDELINES

3.1 Income Sharing
3.2 Preliminary Issues — The Applicability of the Advisory Guidelines
3.2.1 Form and force
3.2.2 Entitlement
3.2.3 Application to provincial/territorial law
3.2.4 Application to agreements
3.2.5 Interim orders
3.2.6 Review and variation
3.3 The Formulas
3.3.1 Two basic formulas
3.3.2 Determining income
3.3.3 the without child support formula
3.3.4 The with child support formula
3.3.5 Length of marriage
3.3.6 Ranges
3.3.7 Ceilings and floors
3.4 After the Formulas Have Been Applied
3.4.1 Using the ranges
3.4.2 Restructuring
3.4.3 Exceptions

4 ENTITLEMENT

4.1 Entitlement as a Threshold Issue: The "No Entitlement" Cases
4.2 Entitlement at Other Stages of the Guidelines Analysis
4.3 Entitlement Issues on Review and Variation

5 APPLICATION

5.1 Application to provincial/territorial law
5.2 Application to agreements
5.3 Interim orders
5.4 Review and Variation

6 INCOME

6.1 The Starting Point for Income Determination
6.2 Social Assistance Is Not "Income"
6.3 The Child Tax Benefit and Other Child Benefits
6.4 The Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB)
6.5 Benefits for Children Other Than Children of the Marriage
6.6 Non-Taxable Incomes
6.7 Time for Determining Income

7 The without child support formula

7.1 The Basic Structure of the without child support formula
7.2 Merger over Time and Existing Theories of Spousal Support
7.3 Determining the Length of the Relationship
7.4 The Formula for Amount
7.4.1 The equalization of net income cap
7.4.2 The problem of amount in short marriages
7.5 The Formula for Duration
7.5.1 The tendency to ignore duration
7.5.2 The meaning of "indefinite" support
7.5.3 The "rule of 65": the age factor and indefinite support
7.5.4 Time limits in short marriages
7.5.5 Lowering the threshold for indefinite support?
7.5.6 The problem of time limits in medium length marriages
7.6 Making the Formula Concrete — Some Examples
7.6.1 A short-marriage example
7.6.2 Some medium-length marriage examples
7.6.3 Some long-marriage examples
7.7 After the Formula

8 THE with child support formula

8.1 The Compensatory Rationale for Spousal Support
8.2 Background to the Basic Formula
8.3 The Basic Formula
8.3.1 Calculating individual net disposable income
8.3.2 The Basic Formula: Dividing Individual Net Disposable Income
8.4 Amounts of Spousal Support: Examples of the Basic Formula
8.5 Duration under the Basic Formula
8.5.1 The creation of a range for duration in the basic formula
8.5.2 The length-of-marriage test for duration
8.5.3 The age-of-children test for duration
8.5.4 The use of the two tests for duration: whichever is longer
8.5.5 The problem of short marriages with young children
8.6 Shared Custody
8.6.1 Adjusting for rotating child benefits
8.6.2 Adjusting the ranges for child support that departs from the set-off
8.6.3 Adjusting the limits of the range
8.7 Split custody
8.8 Step-Children
8.9 A Hybrid Formula for Spousal Support Paid by the Custodial Parent (The Custodial Payor Formula)
8.10 A Hybrid Formula for Adult Children and Section 3(2)(b)
8.11 Crossover to the with child support formula

9 USING THE RANGES

9.1 Strength of Any Compensatory Claim
9.2 Recipient’s Needs
9.3 Age, Number, Needs and Standard of Living of Children
9.4 Needs and Ability to Pay of Payor
9.5 Work Incentives for Payor
9.6 Property Division and Debts
9.7 Self-Sufficiency Incentives

10 RESTRUCTURING

10.1 The General Concept: Trading Off Amount Against Duration
10.2 How Does Restructuring Work? Some Examples
10.2.1 Example 1: restructuring by front-end loading
10.2.2 Example 2: restructuring by extending duration and reducing amount
10.3 When Should You Think About Restructuring?
10.3.1 Restructuring under the without child support formula
10.3.2 Restructuring under the with child support formula
10.3.3 Restructuring under the custodial payor formula

11 CEILINGS AND FLOORS

11.1 The Ceiling
11.2 The Floor
11.3 Payor Income Above the $350,000 Ceiling
11.4 Payor Income Below $20,000/$30,000

12 EXCEPTIONS

12.1 Compelling Financial Circumstances in the Interim Period
12.2 Debt Payment
12.3 Prior Support Obligations
12.3.1 Prior support under the without child support formula
12.3.2 Prior support under the with child support formula
12.3.3 Prior children in the spouse’s care
12.4 Illness and disability
12.5 The compensatory exception in short marriages without children
12.6 Property Division, Reapportionment of Property
12.6.1 Reapportionment of property (British Columbia)
12.6.2 An exception for high property awards?
12.6.3 Boston v. Boston
12.7 Basic Needs/Hardship: Without Child Support, Custodial Payor Formulas
12.8 Non-Taxable Payor Income
12.9 Non-Primary Parent to Fulfil Parenting Role under the Custodial Payor Formula
12.10 Special Needs of Child
12.11 Section 15.3: Small Amounts, Inadequate Compensation under the With Child Support Formula

13 SELF-SUFFICIENCY

13.1 Entitlement
13.2 Imputing Income
13.3 Using the Ranges
13.4 Restructuring
13.5 Time Limits: the without child support formula
13.6 Time Limits: The with child support formula
13.7 Review Orders
13.8 Indefinite Support Is Not Permanent Support
13.9 Real Incentives for Self-Sufficiency

14 VARIATION, REVIEW, REMARRIAGE, SECOND FAMILIES

14.1 Material Changes, Reviews and Issues of Continuing Entitlement
14.2 Applications to Reduce Spousal Support Because of Changes in Income
14.3 The Payor’s Post-Separation Income Increase
14.4 The Recipient’s Reduced Income After Separation
14.5 Crossover Between the Two Formulas
14.6 The Payor’s Remarriage or Re-partnering
14.7 The Recipient’s Remarriage or Re-partnering
14.8 Second Families

15 THE ADVISORY GUIDELINES IN QUEBEC

15.1 The Definition of Income
15.2 Length of Marriage Under the without child support formula
15.3 Child Support and the with child support formula
15.4 The Current State of the Advisory Guidelines in Quebec

16 CONCLUSION


Finally, a "user's guide" to the final verison of the Guidelines is also online.  See: "Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines: A User's Guide to the Final Version." 

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