Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines
Cassidy v. McNeil is an interesting case from Ontario’s Court of Appeal and deals with the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (“SSAG“). The case also deals with a trial judge’s duty to provide adequate written reasons for his or her decisions.
The trial judge ordered the husband to pay the wife spousal support of $1,200.00 per month for five years.
The lawyers who argued the appeal were not the same as trial counsel. Unfortunately, trial counsel failed to file and mark as exhibits the SSAG calculations used at trial.
The absence of a trial record was compounded by the brevity of the trial judge’s written reasons. The trial judge failed to deal with the issue of entitlement in his reasons, and simply noted that the wife had a need for support.
The Court of Appeal therefore used its own analysis of the SSAG and varied the trial judge’s decision to lower the spousal support to $950.00 per month, but made the order indefinite (given the ages of the parties and the length of the marriage).