It can take a while to work through the court process to obtain a final order for any relief sought. Parties often bring motions for temporary orders for some relief prior to a final order being granted, but these temporary orders are not binding on the trial judge.
The case of Blais v. Blais, 2015 ONSC, 1962 illustrates what courts look for in determining whether or not to grant temporary orders for spousal support.
The parties were married in 1993, had two children, and divorced in 2013.
Pursuant to a 2011 temporary order, the husband was required to pay the wife child support in the amount of $1,196.00 per month and spousal support in the amount of $300.00 per month.
In accordance with another temporary order made in 2013, the husband no longer had to pay child support.
Once she was no longer receiving child support, the wife brought a motion to increase the amount of spousal support payable to her.
By the time the motion was heard, the wife was in a new relationship.
The motion judge awarded the wife a higher amount of spousal support. In his judgment he noted the following:
The purpose of a temporary order for spousal support is to allow the recipient to live a reasonable lifestyle until the issue of spousal support is decided on a final basis. In determining what is reasonable, the means and needs of both the payor spouse and the recipient spouse will be taken into consideration.
For a judge to grant a temporary order for spousal support, the spouse who is seeking spousal support must put forth evidence that is sufficient to raise a presumption that s/he is entitled to receive spousal support. (The indepth analysis will occur at trial.)
A spouse can establish an entitlement to spousal support based on his or her financial need, among other things. To some extent, the standard of living the spouse seeking spousal support had prior to the parties separating will inform the judge of what s/he needs.
Cohabiting with a new spouse post-separation does not disentitle a spouse from receiving spousal support, although subsequent cohabitation can affect how much spousal support is ordered to be paid.
With respect to the parties of the case being heard, the motion judge pointed out that the wife’s income had decreased since she separated from her husband and that her income and her new spouse’s incomes combined did not equal what the husband earned. Accordingly, it was appropriate to increase the amount of spousal support payable to the wife on a temporary basis until trial.
Erika R. Jacobs