There are two basic types of spousal maintenance, needs based and compensatory spousal maintenance. Needs based spousal maintenance arises when a spouse is unable to meet their expenses after the relationship. Compensatory spousal maintenance is intended to compensate a spouse for opportunities for employment they gave up often because they dedicated their time to caring for the family.
The question that arises is whether or not compensatory spousal maintenance ends if the spouse remarries.
In a recent decision of the BC Court of Appeal, Zacharias v. Zacharias, 2015 BCCA 376, the court held that compensatory spousal maintenance does not necessarily end when the spouse remarries. The court will look at and balance the household incomes of both spouses on a review application and see if one “household” is enjoying a greater standard of living than the other. This means that the incomes of the spouses’ new partners may be a relevant consideration.
In Zacharias v. Zacharias, Ms. Zacharias was entitled to continue to receive compensatory spousal maintenance from Mr. Zacharias even though she earned $45,000 per year and her new husband was earning $175,000 per year. Mr. Zacharias was earning $300,000 at the date of the review. The court ordered that the amount of spousal maintenance be reduced from $6,000 per month to $3,000 per month.