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Digest of the Week | Time-limited Award

Walker v. Walker | 2019 SKCA 96 | Saskatchewan Court of Appeal

Family law --- Support — Spousal support under Divorce Act and provincial statutes — Time-limited award — General principles

Parties were married in 1994 and separated in 2013 — There were two children of marriage — At trial, judge ordered relief including award of spousal support to wife for seven-year duration — Husband appealed on grounds including valuation of family property and wife cross-appealed regarding duration of spousal support — Appeal allowed only with respect to valuation of family property and cross-appeal allowed in part with respect to duration of spousal support — Trial judge erred in duration of spousal support award and spousal support was ordered on indefinite basis — Although trial judge did not expressly make finding of entitlement on compensatory basis, he functionally did just that — In spite of important considerations including 21-year cohabitation period, fact that parties had traditional marriage, and air of permanency to wife's lost opportunities, trial judge seemed to have arbitrarily fixed spousal support at seven years' duration with no indication as to how this would compensate wife for her long-term marriage and lost opportunities — In light of compensatory nature of wife's claim, trial judge did err by solely focusing on her relative youth at time of marital breakdown and her ineffective efforts to secure employment.
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