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Even in extreme cases, spousal support may not be blocked

For many men and women, a divorce is an emotional time. Although emotions may run high during the process, it is important to remember that spousal support rulings and other applications of divorce law are not based on feelings, positive or negative. Though the laws of Alberta can be subject to interpretation, they are applied based on facts and evidence. Unfortunately, this can lead to situations that may feel unfair to some.

In May 2015, a British Columbia couple separated after less than five years of marriage. Later that year, police arrived at the woman's home to find her in medical distress, and the former couple's infant daughter without vital signs. Though the mother recovered, the 18-month-old girl did not. 

At the beginning of 2017, the woman applied for spousal support, and a share of the home she once lived in with her ex-husband. In response, he filed a motion that her claim be dismissed based on her alleged murder of their daughter. Her trial is scheduled to being in September of this year.

Although it was established that spousal conduct had no bearing on support orders under normal circumstances, a case was presented that in extreme situations, support may be dismissed. Examples were cited of cases in which support was denied to spouses who once tried to kill their partners. The judge ruled against the man, however, noting she may be suffering from a mental illness, and that he lacked sufficient evidence to conclusively blame her for the child's death.

The scales of justice cannot balance if they are weighed down by emotions instead of facts. For assistance with spousal support, and other divorce and Alberta family law issues, even in extreme cases, it may be best to turn to a lawyer. A lawyer can help a person see past the emotions, and yet vigorously defend his or her rights.

Source: timescolonist.com, "Victoria mom charged with murder of toddler is granted spousal-support hearing", Keith Fraser, May 15, 2017

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