Understanding the Law
Saves Time and Cuts Costs

Goldwater, Dubé is committed to providing clients and visitors with the utmost in resources available to satisfy interest in family law. Our Frequently Asked Questions should address some basic concerns about divorce, custody, alimony and child support.

Many queries are related to collecting on a judgement (unpaid balance runs interest at the rate of 6% per year; please browse our table of applicable interest rates) and anything relating to the firm’s expertise on parental alienation (readers can browse through publications to learn more about the issue).

The issues of relocation of children after divorce and the impact of bankruptcy in divorce cases are also common concerns. The firm also offers to visitors basic court forms available in Excel and PDF formats, such as the Child Support Determination Form and the Sworn Statement of Income and Expenses.

If you have a judgment of spousal support or child support rendered in your favour, it goes up by the cost of living on January 1 of each year. For 2015, this indexation rate is 1.8%. For past years, please browse our table of indexation rates.

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Frequently Asked Questions

During marriage, spouses owe each other respect, fidelity, succour and assistance, and they contribute to the expenses of the marriage in proportion to their respective means (articles 392 and 396 of the Civil Code of Quebec). Upon separation or divorce, spouses owe each other financial support. If one spouse is in financial need, often by reason of the role he or she assumed in the marriage, then the spouse who is better off will owe alimony (spousal support) to the spouse in need.

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Child Support Payments are never taxable for the recipient nor deductible for the payer, as long as the originating court order or agreement is later than May 1st 1997. Court orders or agreements prior to May 1st 1997 are subject to the old rules (taxable and deductible).

Spousal Support Payments which are payable in the "ordinary" fashion (payable weekly or monthly, by one spouse to the other spouse, without restrictions on the use of the money), are taxable for the recipient and deductible for the payer.

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Fortunately for some, and unfortunately for others, child support payable pursuant to a written separation agreement or judgment of the court, after May 01 1997, is no longer taxable for the recipient, nor deductible for the payer.

For child support agreements and judgments rendered prior to May 01 1997, both recipient and payer may file a declaration to make the payments tax-free for both of them.

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When parents separate, whether or not they are married, in a civil union, or have no formal ties at all, both of them must financially support their children.

No matter whether the parents are married and so are in divorce proceedings (under our federal Divorce Act), or are merely separating (under our Civil Code of Quebec), or are dissolving their civil union (also under our Civil Code of Quebec), or finally, are not in any formal union, and so are just taking plain old custody and child support proceedings (yet again under our Civil Code of Quebec), the rules are the same!

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Before engaging in a costly court battle over alimony, spouses who are discussing amicably how to settle their separation or divorce, or spouses who go into mediation, should concentrate on the same kinds of factors the Court will consider if they cannot solve the problem themselves.

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Alimony ("spousal support") that is payable on a regular basis is taxable for the recipient and tax deductible for the payer, as long as there is a judgment or written separation agreement that formalizes the alimony that is being paid. If alimony is paid as a “lump sum” however, it is neither taxable for one nor deductible for the other.

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Our current Divorce Act is a federal law which has been in effect since February 1986, and is applicable throughout Canada. It is the Constitution of Canada that requires that Parliament set the conditions for marriage and divorce, to be administered equally in every province and territory of our country. In each province, there is a designated court that has the jurisdiction to deal with divorce and all its ramifications.

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The Canada Revenue Agency allows you to deduct legal fees incurred to increase support, to defend against a claim to decrease support, or to collect unpaid support. Fees to establish child support for the first time are also deductible. Fees for the divorce itself are not tax-deductible.

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LAWS

FORMS

Unjustified Enrichment Between De Facto Spouses: A Renewal of the Law, or History Being Re-Written?

This article will take a look at the evolution of the jurisprudence on unjustified enrichment as a viable recourse for de facto couples…

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La Grande Perturbation: Nouveaux Défis en Droit de la Filiation

The legal and jurisprudential evolution of the Quebec civil law on filiation has been dynamic and avant-garde in these last few years…

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The Constitutional case for de facto couples in Quebec

In July 2009, the Quebec Superior Court issued its decision in the landmark case on the legal status of de facto…

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Bankruptcy & Family Law: A Renewal of the Law, or History Being Re-Written?

Bankruptcy. This is perhaps the most frightening word a family law practitioner can hear. After all, once issues of custody…

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Parental Alienation Syndrome

Parental Alienation Syndrome (P.A.S.) may be defined as the manifestation of a child’s systematic alienation from his parent, caused by any one…

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Long Distance Custody Cases

When may a custodial parent move away with the children? What constraints may be placed on such a move?…

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