Failure to consider to the SSAG in spousal support case error in principle: court

The SSAG is a useful tool in determining spousal support: judge

Failure to consider to the SSAG in spousal support case error in principle: court

The Court of Appeal for British Columbia has ruled that failure to reference to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG) in awarding spousal support was an error.

In Sebok v. Babits, 2022 BCCA 2, the parties divorced in 2016 and both filed for spousal support. The trial judge rejected Sebok’s claim for spousal support as “simply without merit,” but granted Babits’ claim and awarded a lump-sum spousal support in the amount of $50,000.

On appeal, Sebok alleged that the trial judge erred in his exercise of discretion in failing to consider the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG). The appellate court agreed.

The Court of Appeal referred to Justice Gail Dickson’s characterization of the SSAG in the case of Parton v. Parton, 2018 BCCA 273, that despite being advisory only, the SSAG “was a useful tool in guiding the determination of the appropriate quantum and duration of spousal support.”

Contrary to the trial judge’s conclusion, “an application of the SSAG would generate an award of spousal support payable to Sebok, not by him. The parties were unable to identify any case in which an award of spousal support to the higher‑earning spouse was either claimed or ordered,” said the court.

Since the trial judge failed to refer to the SSAG nor identified any justification for such award, the appellate court said it was unable to discern any basis for the award. Further, “he made no findings of exceptional circumstances that could support a spousal support award to the higher-earning former spouse,” said the court. As such, the appeal was granted and the spousal support award was set aside.

Related stories

Free newsletter

The Canadian Legal Newswire is a FREE newsletter that keeps you up to date on news and analysis about the Canadian legal scene. A separate InHouse Edition is delivered on a regular basis, providing targeted news and information of interest to in-house counsel.

Please enter your email address below to subscribe.

Recent articles & video

Food and beverage M&A on the rise, but determining valuations is difficult: Stikeman Elliott lawyer

IIROC publishes proposed amendments to protect Canadian investors

Antonio Urdaneta's long journey from foreign-trained lawyer to launching his employment firm

Nova Scotia seeks public feedback to improve anti-cyberbullying law

Roundup of law firm hires, promotions, departures: Jan. 17, 2022 update

Singapore law firms lose record number of lawyers

Most Read Articles

Saskatchewan appeal court overturns eight-month law society suspension for lawyer Tony Merchant

As more mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations loom, employers should have a plan: Whitten & Lublin lawyer

WOMEN IN LAW: Jennie Baek loves being a trusted advisor and helping clients build at McMillian LLP

Everlaw provides data showing massive shift to automation tools across law firms