Spousal support, also called an alimony, is an amount of money that one spouse pays to the other to help support him or her after the divorce. Unlike child support, this pension is for the benefit of the spouse. Often, the alimony is granted when one spouse didn’t have a job and lived with the financial assistance of the other or when the wage gap is large. The purpose of the alimony is to maintain the same standard of living of the spouses during and after the marriage.
Julie and Patrick married in 1998 and are respectively 40 and 42 years old. From their union were born three children. Julie is a lawyer and Patrick is a doctor, their annual income is $ 35,000 and $ 110,000 respectively. At the time of their divorce, the parties agreed that Patrick should pay Julie child support payments of $ 500 per week and a$ 750 per week for Julie’s personal benefit. No terms have been set for child support and alimony. In the years that followed, Julie tried to find a more stable job for a better salary, without success, while Patrick had a significant increase in income and is currently making $ 450,000 annually.
Patrick asks the Court to cancel the alimony paid to his ex-wife arguing that at this stage, she should have reached financial independence or at least have an end date determined to the alimony. As for Julie, she is asking for her alimony to be increased because of the significant increase in Patrick’s salary and since the child support has been reduced because of the majority of the children. In addition, she is requesting a provision for costs of $ 20,000.
The Court consider that there was no significant event justifying a review of the spousal support. First, the fact that time has elapsed since the divorce, as Patrick argues, isn’t a sufficient reason to nullify or reduce the alimony awarded to Julie. In addition, she has been actively looking for work to find something more stable and better paid. Second, the increase in her ex-husband’s income, while substantial, does not, itself, justify a change in what was previously agreed and endorsed in the divorce judgment. Indeed, if the previously agreed order still meets Julie’s needs, there is no reason to intervene even if Patrick increases his ability to pay. For these reasons, Julie’s request to increase the amount of spousal support is denied, as is Patrick’s request for alimony cancellation. Finally, because of the considerable income gap between them, the Court orders Patrick to pay an $ 8,000 fee to Julie.