Obtaining Reliable and Repeatable SSAG Calculations

3. Choosing the Right Formula

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines describe a variety of formulas, each of which apply in certain, specific circumstances. Use of an inappropriate formula will generate inaccurate results.

The without child support formula applies when there are no dependent children and calculates quantum and duration based on the length of the parties’ relationship. This formula will be used where there are no “children of the marriage” within the meaning of the Divorce Act[39] or where all children of the marriage are all adults and independent. SSAG §7

The with child support formula, really a family of formulas, applies when there are dependent children of the marriage and there is a child support obligation concurrent with the spousal support obligation, whether or not child support is actually being paid. SSAG §8

The basic with child support formula applies whenever the higher income spouse pays both child support and spousal support to the lower income spouse. The amount of spousal support is based on the sharing of the parties’ combined individual net disposable incomes while duration, initially determined as indefinite, duration not specified, is based on a combination of tests relating to the length of the parties’ relationship and the school status of the youngest child. SSAG §8.3

There are three variants of the basic with child support formula.

  • 1. The shared custody formula, which applies when the parties have shared custody of the children as defined by s. 9 of the Children Support Guidelines. SSAG §8.6
  • 2. The split custody formula, which applies when each of the parties has the primary residence of one or more of the children, whether or not child support is being paid in an amount calculated under s. 8 of the Child Support Guidelines. SSAG §8.7
  • 3. The step-children formula, which is not so much a separate formula as a slight modification of the other formulas, and which applies when the payor is a step-parent to all of the children of the marriage and the parties’ relationship was short, whether or not child support is being paid in an amount different than the table amount under s. 5 of the Child Support Guidelines. SSAG §8.8

Two hybrid formulas based on the with child support formula calculate quantum and duration based on the length of the parties’ relationship.

  • 4. The custodial payor formula, which applies where the payor of spousal support has the primary residence of the children, whether the recipient of spousal support is paying child support or not. SSAG §8.9
  • 5. The adult children formula, which applies when all of the children are dependent adults and the child support is determined under s. 3(2)(b) of the Child Support Guidelines. SSAG §8.10
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