25 May 2011

DivorceMate Provides Free Advisory Guidelines Calculator

In April 2011, DivorceMate, one of Canada's major publishers of spousal support and child support software, published a new website, www.mysupportcalculator.ca. The website advertises lawyers and law firms, performs child support calculations under the Child Support Guidelines and, most importantly, performs spousal support calculations using the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines formulas.

Although the spousal support calculators available at mysupportcalculator.ca do not generate results which match those produced by DivorceMate's expensive software for professionals and do not account for all of the factors which can impact on the Advisory Guidelines formula results (such as source of income, tax benefits, deductions and credits, payments to special expenses, and so forth), the results will be fine for most people most of the time.

(One point about the Advisory Guidelines deserves particular mention. The spousal support formulas will almost always produce some numbers for spousal support. However, the mere fact that the formulas — and the www.mysupportcalculator.ca calculators — generate numbers for amount and duration does not mean that someone is entitled to receive spousal support. Entitlement must be established first. Once entitlement is established, then the results have significance.)

DivorceMate deserves much praise for making these calculators publicly available. The new website goes a long way toward addressing the need for free, public calculators which can handle the complex math required by the Advisory Guidelines.

For an overview of the Advisory Guidelines formulas and a complete review of the data they require, see my paper "Obtaining Reliable and Repeatable SSAG Calculations" (PDF) from the website of the Department of Justice.

Update: 12 July 2011

Having updated my DivorceMate software, I am pleased to report that the results of the free www.mysupportcalculator.ca calculator are an almost exact match to the results generated by the professional software when the data are limited to match the www.mysupportcalculator.ca inputs. Good job, DivorceMate!