Do Long Term Disability Affect Child Support And Alimony?

If you divorce your spouse who later suffers from a disability either due to an accident or any other form of illness that made it impossible for them to work, you will find it hard to receive financial support. Child support and alimony become a tough issue when the payor is suffering from long-term disability. In most cases, such an obligation becomes due and cannot be paid in time.

Normally, when a parent has a disability, this does mean that they will cease to support their children or provide spousal support. Understanding how a long-term disability may impact one’s ability to provide support is vital.

 Long Term Disability And Support Obligations

If you were obligated to pay for child support and alimony, the court would still demand that you follow court orders. However, there are situations where you may have such orders modified. To understand how a long term disability may affect child and spousal support, the following may apply:

  • To the custodial parent: The custodial parent can get more child support or alimony if he can prove to the court that the disability has affected their income.
  • To the non-custodial parent: Where a non-custodial parent has a long term disability, the Canadian court uses three approaches as follows:
  1. Allocate lower amount and extend the duration of payment: The court may extend the duration of child support and alimony payment and keep the amount within the range according to the formula set under Advisory Guidelines. In most cases, this is held at or near the lower end of such ranges.
  2. Have a defined amount but with a set duration of payment: The court may decide to fix some within the range, which may be to the upper end. Payment stops when the duration ends, even if the need for support still exists.
  3. Allocate a higher amount and extend the duration: The Court may choose to increase the amount to support and extend the duration.

The above three approaches help to accommodate the needs of the disabled spouse. Such approaches may be applied uniquely by the court, depending on each case circumstance. Thus, it’s always advisable to talk to a family lawyer. If you have hired a divorce lawyer in Toronto, he/she can explain how the law may be applied.

 Child Support And Alimony Modification

Both parents may agree to seek a modification, or where there is disagreement, one parent may need to bring up a motion to change.

  • To the custodial parent: If you are the custodial parent who has suffered from a long term disability, you can request the court to have the non-custodial parent’s financial support obligations increased
  • To the non-custodial parent: A parent who has had a long-term disability can seek court order modification to reduce child support alimony support.

 The law on child support is set up by federal, provincial, and territorial laws. If you don’t pay the support you owe, the government may use any benefits, such as income tax refunds or your insurance benefits, to pay for any alimony or child support arrears you may have.  If the duration of the disability is not expected to be permanent, the court may only adjust the support for some time, depending on the anticipated time of recovery

Child Support

You can have child support order modification due to a disability. If you have separated or divorced from your spouse and are receiving long-term disability, you have to consider several issues. When such benefits replaced what a parent has been earning as income, they are treated as income. Thus the court has to determine the amount to be imputed as to pay for child support. In other words, when a payor is receiving settlement funds for any injury that may have led to a disability, the court has to examine the nature of the settlement and then decide on the amount to be assigned as income for the purpose of child support. There are many factors to consider for the purpose of paying child support when a spouse is receiving long-term disability benefits, which can better be explained by a family lawyer.

 Spousal Support

 There are factors to be considered when it comes to spousal support, such as the duration of marriage or age.  In Ontario, a spouse is obligated to provide alimony to the other, depending on their needs and the extent to which such support may be needed.  One should look for a lawyer to advise whether the long-term disability benefits will be treated just like any other form of income. This is subject to spousal support obligations.

 Usually, the court will look at whether the modification of spousal support would lead to undue hardship for the payor or the supported spouse.  Long-term disability and support obligations have complicated procedures. It’s better to have a family lawyer guide on how the Advisory guidelines may apply in your situation.

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