An aquaintance of mine who is a senior is in a very unsatisfactory marriage of 6 years. Her income comprises solely of govt pensions. It is the second marriage of both her and her spouse. what are the legal obligations of her spouse in respect of assets and income?...the spouse is a retired teacher with reasonably good pension.
first inquiry on behalf of my acquaintance
What province does your acquaintance reside in? The laws vary somewhat from province to province.
Each spouse would be entitled to apply to a court for a division of matrimonial assets, which can basically include any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage or the increase in value of such assets during that time. So there would be no division of pension entitlements earned prior to the marriage, but if the spouse was still working earlier in the marriage and contributing to the pension plan, then the increase in value of that pension could be divisible.
It is not mandatory for a either spouse to apply to the court, and there is no longer any court order required for a legal separation. Parties can resolve their property issues verbally, or by a written agreement if they so choose.
There is an obligation on each spouse to fully disclose property and debts to the other spouse. Even if those may not be divisible, there is still an expectation of full disclosure so that the other spouse can verify that such property is pre-marital or not subject to disclosure. The court can order disclosure of documents and records if necessary.
There is no automatic rights or obligations with regard to spousal support. A spouse may be entitled to spousal support if they have been economically disadvantaged by the marriage or its breakdown, or are not capable of being financially self sufficient and have been dependent financially on the other spouse.
There is no law that the court must equalize incomes of spouses, and particularly in a fairly short duration marriage occurring later in life for both people the court would see nothing inherently unfair if one has income higher than the other. The court has discretion both as to whether to order support, and also as to the amount of support to be ordered, and the duration of such support.
There is an obligation on both spouses to disclose income information and details about expenses to the other spouse, and again a court can order production of such information if it is not voluntarily provided.
Parties can agree verbally or in a written agreement about spousal support. It is not mandatory that such agreements be confirmed by a court. Payments of spousal support can be tax deductible to the payor and included in the income of the recipient, but the agreement must be in writing in order to seek a tax deduction on support paid.
Please let me know if you have some further question arising out of the above information.
with over 15 years experience.