Essential Facts About Determining Spousal Support in BC


Spousal support is a common source of contention in divorce proceedings. While most parents do not object to paying child support, the same cannot be said for paying support to an ex-spouse. If the quantity and length of the assistance put a significant financial hardship on the paying spouse, it can become a highly contentious issue.

Calculating the appropriate amount of spousal support in British Columbia entails taking into account the length of the marriage, the income of each spouse, if there are children in the partnership, and other factors.

How Much Spousal Support is Payable in BC?

The Canadian government commissioned two professors some years ago to review past Canadian spousal support rulings and establish a method to compute spousal support alimony based on the primary criteria involved.

This formula has served as a guideline for couples when performing the calculation. It can be used when a marriage or cohabitation arrangement comes to an end.

It is, however, not the last say. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, in reality, are not legally binding.

While the courts in British Columbia are increasingly referring to these principles, they may also consider considerations other than raw statistics when assessing and altering amounts depending on case-specific circumstances.

This is where a lawyer who is well-versed in spousal support and alimony matters can benefit your case.

How is Spousal Support/Alimony Calculated in BC?

In many respects, calculating spousal support in British Columbia is more complicated than calculating child support.

Furthermore, whether or not you get child support after your marriage or cohabitation arrangement ends influences the computation of spousal support.

So there are two methods for performing the computation.

Spousal Support Calculated Without Child Support

The BC spousal support level for childless couples ranges from 1.5 to 2 percent of the difference between the spouses’ gross salaries (the gross income difference) for each year of marriage/cohabitation, up to a maximum of 50 percent. For marriages of 25 years or more, the range stays constant at 37.5 to 50% of the income difference. (The highest limit of this maximum range is restricted to the amount required to equalize the spouses’ net incomes — the net income limitation.)

Spousal Support Calculated With Child Support

When children are involved in a primarily residential setting, the parent with children always has more than half of the net disposable income (more people means they get more than half). In contrast to the without child formula, the spouse does not get half of the NDI when children are involved because even an access parent has costs for exercising access to their children during the time they spend with their children. Finally, the payor naturally has employment-related costs, but the receiver spouse, who is a full-time caregiver for children at home, has access to both child and spousal support.


Spousal support is a complex and often contentious procedure. This is why it’s generally recommended that you seek the advice of a professional family lawyer to assist you in your dispute. Our lawyers are standing by, ready to advise and help you through your divorce and family law matters.

Dreyer and Associates Lawyers LLP is dedicated to helping their clients with their family law matters, including divorce & separation, child support, and spousal support. We pride ourselves on our client service and are devoted to providing you with the highest quality legal advice. Let us assist you in making informed decisions about spousal support. Schedule an appointment with us today!





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