Can I pay all the spousal support up front?

Can I pay all the spousal support up front?

Yes, it is possible to make a lump sum payment to cover all spousal support obligations. This means that the payor spouse will be responsible to pay the total amount of spousal support owed in one installment, instead of through ongoing monthly payments. While courts generally favour monthly payments, a lump sum spousal support payment is an alternative option if both parties are agreeable to it. 

Often, when considering a lump sum spousal support payment, spouses will agree to an unequal division of family property. In such cases, the lump sum payment is factored into the division of assets, leading to the spousal support recipient receiving a larger share of the assets.

Opting for a lump sum payment of spousal support offers the benefit of financial closure for both parties. However, there are several factors to consider:

  • Tax Implications – it's important to note that tax implications exist whether you choose to go with monthly spousal support payments or a lump sum. In both scenarios, the payor spouse can claim the payments as a tax deduction, while the recipient must report the payments as income. The key difference with lump sum spousal support is that the amount is calculated to reflect the net, after-tax financial impact on both the paying and receiving spouse, ensuring the sum is equitable after all tax obligations are considered.
  • Financial Feasibility – before deciding whether a lump sum spousal support payment is right for you, the payor spouse should consider whether they have the financial capability to make said payment without jeopardizing their own financial stability. 
  • Unforeseen Changes – if the spouses agree to receiving a lump sum payment, they must also agree to waive their rights to any further spousal support. It is important to understand this as life circumstances can change, and a lump sum may not account for future changes in need or income for either spouse. 
  • Legal Advice - given the complexities involved, both parties should consult legal professionals to ensure that the lump sum accurately reflects the calculated amount according to the Canadian Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. The family lawyers at a Crossroads Law are all highly knowledgeable in this area. For a free initial consultation on spousal support, please reach out to us.

Whether you opt for monthly payments or a lump sum, the process for determining entitlement and calculating the amount of spousal support remain the same. For a more detailed look at how spousal support is calculated, check out our FAQ on How Spousal Support is Calculated.