We do not advocate for an immediate post-divorce “clean break” model.
- Spousal support should be paid for a limited amount of time, with some indexing of duration based on length of marriage — though not age — and quantum based on incomes but never an “indefinite” (permanent) duration.
- Unless recipient health outcomes are directly traceable to some action or neglect of the payor there should be no additional resulting obligation; it must at some point become a societal responsibility if we consider that divorce is a final separation of concerns. Where it is not possible for an adult to make their own way, the state should provide a basic income for that person: whether and how far this would go beyond welfare, I don’t know. Former spouses should never have to take on the role of private welfare providers, and no law or precedent should create a dependency of one person on another. A divorce with financial obligations remaining in place indefinitely from one former spouse to another is not a divorce.
- An end date for support should be a requirement, and a maximum possible time frame should be set.
- A lump-sum payment option should be based on a proportion of available resources and length of support as above, as everyone’s situation and means will differ significantly.
- The ability for judges to override legal agreements such as separation agreements and pre-nuptials should be eliminated.
- All post-divorce assets such as gifts and inheritances should be removed from the equation of spousal support; any future spouse’s or partner’s assets must be protected from claims of a previous spouse.
- The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines should be abolished; potentially, some aspects of it — reflecting the principles above — could be incorporated into the Divorce Act.
A divorce with financial obligations remaining in place indefinitely from one former spouse to another is not a divorce; no law should create a dependency of one person on another.