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 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