ATA Law Successfully Defends Spousal Support Claim

Unlike child support which often means automatic entitlement to the custodial parent, entitlement to spousal support is more complex and requires the applicant to meet the threshold to establish their entitlement.

There are three grounds for entitlement to spousal support:

1.    Compensatory;

2.    Non-compensatory; and

3.    Contractual.

If you are applying for spousal support, you must justify your entitlement under at least one of the three grounds. In some cases, you may be able to justify entitlement under two or three grounds at the same time.  As a matter of fact, many spousal support claims involve both compensatory and non-compensatory claims (Moge v. Moge 1992 CanLII 25 SCC, Bracklow v. Bracklow 1999 CanLII 715 SCC) However, justifying your entitlement to spousal support on two or more bases does not mean that the amount of spousal support you are paid will be correspondingly double or triple. We will discuss about the issue of the amount of spousal support payable in a separate article.

Recently, the ATA Law legal team acted on behalf of our client (husband) to successfully dismiss the wife’s claim for interim spousal support (Chen v. Zhang 2024 BCSC 558). ATA Law’s main argument was that the applicant wife’s affidavit evidence was contradictory and insufficient. Therefore, she failed to meet the threshold of establishing a prima facie entitlement to spousal support and the issue was better reserved for trial.

Associate Judge Robinson agreed with ATA Law’s argument and dismissed the applicant wife’s application stating that “the applicant’s description of her assets and means of income is unclear and unsatisfactory” and “Her evidence raises more questions than answers and they are questions that can only be addressed at a trial.” Additionally, Associate Judge Robinson concluded as follows:

[31] To the extent that the Claimant has any entitlement to spousal support, that

entitlement is best left for determination at trial, at which time the Court will have the

benefit of a more developed body of evidence which may be tested by cross

examination. Moreover, by the time of trial it is expected that the outstanding

disclosure issues will have been addressed, such that if the Claimant has any

entitlement, it can be determined with reference to her financial position (and that of

the Respondent).

[32] Given the evidentiary record before me, the Claimant has not met the

threshold of establishing a prima facie entitlement.

[33] In reaching this decision, I am also influenced by the fact that the trial of this

litigation will proceed in less than five months. While that is not an insignificant

period to wait while one is financially compromised, I am satisfied that the Claimant

will be able to sustain herself at the same standard she enjoyed during the marriage

pending a trial result.

[34] Given this result, the Respondent is entitled to his costs of this application.

As top family law lawyers in Richmond, British Columbia, the ATA Law legal team is highly skilled and experienced in assisting our clients apply for spousal support and defend against spousal support claims. Contact Us – ATA Law Corporation