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How to enforce spousal support after an ex moves away

When a marriage dissolves, the movement of spouses to different cities, provinces, or even countries can make coordinating support a challenge. Many people in Alberta and across Canada struggle with issues around financial arrangements, especially when there is distance involved. Arranging for and enforcing spousal support can leave people with few options, but there are some steps that can be taken.

One of the biggest challenges with spousal support orders is that such orders are only enforceable in the jurisdiction where the payor lives. If the payor moves to another jurisdiction following a support order, the new jurisdiction can enforce payment at its discretion. Unfortunately, the old jurisdiction can do nothing in this case.

If a spouse refuses to send regular support per a ruling and the new jurisdiction is not enforcing the old ruling, an alternative can possibly be sought. For example, a lump-sum settlement may be an option to consider. A lawyer can help someone seek a future value calculation that will direct the claim.

Another option is to take a look at shared accounts. For example, CPP pension credits may have been split between spouses, and claims could be directed to these accounts. Understanding all the options in Alberta and presenting them to a judge is the best way to handle such situations.

Divorce is complicated for anyone, but it can be particularly difficult if one spouse is inaccessible or if decisions such as spousal support are denied. Understanding one's rights and options is key to moving forward and making claims in a legally sound way. An Alberta family lawyer can introduce information and resources to help divorcees make decisions for their future.

Source: MoneySense, "How do I get my ex to pay the spousal support I'm owed?", Debbie Hartzman, Aug 17, 2017

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