Child Support, Spousal Support and the Turn to Guidelines
John Eekelaar and Rob George, eds. Routledge Handbook of Family Law and Policy, Routledge, May 2014, at 153-163
11 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2015
Date Written: October 1, 2013
In the wake of the no fault divorce revolution policy, western jurisdictions have had to face the challenge of how to best deal with the financial consequences of matrimonial breakdown. The challenges are both substantive and procedural in nature. This chapter will explore the use of ‘guidelines’ based on mathematical formulas as one methodological route to ‘fair outcomes’ in spousal support, examining the concept behind and practical development of such guidelines. The primary focus will be on Canada as their Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are regarded as a pioneering project, at least in the common law world. The use of guidelines, or formulae, had been developed earlier in the context of child support, an obligation that has taken on increased significance. While many common law jurisdictions, including Canada, have adopted child support guidelines, Canada has gone further in extending that methodology of income-sharing guidelines to the much more contentious and complex area of spousal support. Because the Canadian spousal support guidelines were developed against the backdrop both of the new priority given to child support and a successful experience with “income-sharing” child support guidelines, this chapter will first examine the basis of the child support obligation, its relationship to spousal support, and the development of a scheme of child support guidelines in Canada.
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