The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are just that. They are guidelines that were created as a tool for judges to use when making a spousal support order.
Over the years however the guidelines have helped shape spousal support law and judges have tended to follow them. In a recent decision Walker v. Walker 2019 SKCA 96 the trial judge gave Ms. Walker 7 years of spousal support after a 21 year marriage. The guidelines indicated that she should be entitled to indefinite support.
The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned the trial judge’s decision and said that if a judge is going to depart from the guidelines there needs to be a clear explanation why.
This decision is important because it creates an obligation for judges to follow the guidelines rather than the guidelines being just a useful tool.
Deborah A. Todd