Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines:
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For those of you who have read this document from beginning to end, we
know that it has been a long and winding road to get here. This Draft
Proposal is admittedly complex. But spousal support raises many difficult
issues. There are no simple solutions and there is no “one big formula”.
That is why the Draft Proposal contains two formulas: the without child
support formula and the with child support formula. The
formulas generate not precise numbers but ranges for both the amount and
the duration of spousal support. The without child support formula
becomes even more flexible with the use of restructuring. The with
child support formula adjusts for different custodial arrangements.
Then there are exceptions to both formulas.
The proposal introduces many new concepts and creates new terminology.
We know there is much to digest. Some aspects of the proposal will only
become clear when lawyers, mediators and judges actually begin to work
with and apply these advisory guidelines to real cases. This is the best
way to test the advisory guidelines—to find out if they are useful, and to
discover strengths and weaknesses.
With the release of the Draft Proposal, the next stage of the project
begins—one of discussion, experimentation and feedback. Some of you may
have immediate comments and suggestions. Others may prefer to work with
the advisory guidelines for a while before offering any feedback.
We know that the proposed advisory guidelines are not perfect and we
welcome your suggestions for revision. But we also ask you keep in mind
the alternative—the current system with all its uncertainty and
inconsistency, and the unfairness that results. Our hope is that these
advisory guidelines, however imperfect, can improve the current system by
providing more certainty, predictability and legitimacy for spousal
Over the next year, we will be speaking to many groups. Initially, the
main purpose will be to explain the Draft Proposal. We will also
inevitably receive comments and suggestions at these sessions. We will
also receive written feedback at the addresses set out below at any time
during the next year. Towards the end of the year, after spouses, lawyers,
mediators and judges have gained some experience with the advisory
guidelines, the sessions will involve more discussion and feedback. We
hope to receive your feedback by February 1, 2006. Your comments,
suggestions, criticisms and proposed improvements will be considered with
a view to releasing a revised version of the spousal support advisory
guidelines in 2006.
Please send your comments on the Draft Proposal in writing
Spousal Support Project
P.O. Box 2310
The authors appreciate your interest in the project. Please be
assured that all comments will be considered.