Colton Haynes, known for his roles on MTV’s “Teen Wolf” and the CW’s “Arrow”, has filed for divorce from husband Jeff Leatham after six months of marriage. Short-term marriages have interesting implications in family law, especially regarding spousal support.
If Haynes and Leatham lived in Ontario, they would be subject to the Court’s discretion to order spousal support under section 15.2 of the Divorce Act. Due to the short duration of the marriage, and depending on each of their incomes, a Court could decide that an order for spousal support is not necessary. This is because in making an order for spousal support, the Court must consider the length of time the spouses were living together, the functions of each spouse during that period, and any potential orders, agreements, or arrangements regarding support.
The Court may also keep in mind the objectives of spousal support orders, which attempt to: recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages arising from the marriage or its breakdown, distribute the financial consequences for supporting any children, relieve economic hardship caused by the breakdown of the marriage, and promote economic self-sufficiency within a reasonable amount of time.
Therefore, if Haynes and Leatham are relatively self-sufficient, the marriage’s short duration may cause an Ontario Court to decide that spousal support is not necessary. This is assuming that neither Haynes nor Leatham experienced any significant economic advantages or disadvantages from the marriage and had similar functions in the relationship. As Haynes and Leatham do not have any children together, there would be no financial consequences relating to the support of children.
However, the Court could still order either Haynes or Leatham to pay spousal support. Usually, spousal support in Ontario is paid on a periodic basis. However, the Court also has the discretion to make a lump sum spousal support award, or a mix of the two. Lump sum spousal support payments are generally the exception to the rule. However, they may be appropriate in cases like this. For example, some factors that Courts take into consideration when making lump sum spousal support payments could apply here, such as: whether the payor of spousal support has enough assets to pay a lump sum, if the parties had been married for a short period of time (usually less than two years), and if a “clean break” between the parties is desirable.
With two wealthy parties, a short marriage, and the possibility of a clean break, an Ontario Court might decide that a lump sum award would be appropriate. Lump sum awards may be particularly useful in cases like this to help the parties more easily move on. Given the fast-paced Hollywood lifestyle, a lump sum spousal support award may be just what Haynes and Leatham need to start the next chapter in their lives, if Hollywood were in Ontario.