4. Check the guidelines for exceptions

The (SSAGs) list some exceptions. These are situations where the guidelines may not apply or where the court may order a different amount of support than what the guidelines say.

Examples where the court may order you to pay less:

  • You make less than $20,000 and paying would push you into poverty.
  • You are responsible for other family debt. For example, you have to keep paying the mortgage until the property can be divided.
  • You are responsible for paying other large family until it can be divided.
  • You are paying for children from another relationship. Or, you are paying spousal support to another former partner.
  • You have a young child from a short relationship with your partner. Although you do not have or , you play a significant role in raising your child. Paying spousal support would mean that you are not able to meet the demands of parenting.
  • You cannot deduct spousal support from your income for tax purposes because you receive disability payments, workers’ compensation, or income from an overseas job.

Examples where the court may order you to pay more:

  • Your partner has an illness or disability.
  • Your partner is caring for your child, who has special needs.
  • Your marriage was short and you had no children, but your partner did not continue with their career to help you build yours.
  • Child support takes priority over spousal support. This means if you don’t make enough money to pay both, you must pay child support first. If you are paying less spousal support than the guidelines call for, you may have to pay it for longer.
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