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Separation due to Alchoholism

Anonymous Asked:

I am considering separation as my husbands drinking has become intolerable. I am the major breadwinner in the family by a long shot - would I be required to pay spousal support, knowing that any money I gave him would go to drink?

Expert Comment:

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As you are legally married, the answer in terms of whether you owe spousal support depends upon the factors noted in the Divorce Act, as applied through the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines and the applicable case law.

In order to provide the above analysis I would need to know from you various details, including whether there are children, where they would live, your income, his income, your respective ages, the length of your cohabitation, and any medical issues, including whether he is a diagnosed alcoholic.

I will comment that there is not a legal argument to pay less support to an individual because they will use that money in a manner not acceptable to the support payer. If a person has an entitlement to receive spousal support then they are free to spend the spousal support that they receive as they may wish.

Whether you owe spousal support depends upon some of the factors noted above. Please also note that it is possible to impute income to a person that is intentionally unemployed or underemployed, and this is a potential defense in relation to your husband.

Of course, I cannot make any comments that are specific to your case without first speaking with you and obtaining the appropriate facts. You are welcome to telephone me at 905-451-3222 for a free consultation.

(The information provided above is general, not legal advice, as circumstances vary from case to case. As well, generally speaking, the above information relates to Ontario law. Thus, if you wish legal advice that you can rely upon for your specific case, or if you are making inquiries where Ontario law may not apply, please contact Andrew Kania for a free consultation).

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