Spousal Support Entitlement

Spousal support is money paid by a former spouse or partner to the other after separation or divorce. The rules governing spousal support for married couples who intend to divorce are set out by the Divorce Act, while common law couples and married couples going through a separation will be governed by the applicable provincial or territorial law.

The underlying purposes of spousal support are to:

  • Acknowledge a spouse’s contributions to the relationship;
  • Share the financial costs of caring for a child;
  • Alleviate financial hardship;
  • Help a spouse become financially able; or
  • Rectify any economic advantage/disadvantage to a spouse caused by the relationship or its breakdown.

As such, it is possible to obtain spousal support in one of two ways. If the parties can agree on the specifics of spousal support, they may enter into a separation agreement which outlines how much will be paid and the duration of the payments. If the parties are unable to agree, the spouse seeking support may apply to the court and request an order.

When determining how much spousal support should be awarded in the circumstances, a judge’s decision is based on the consideration of a number of factors, such as the length of the relationship, the spouses’ roles during the relationship, and each spouse’s financial situation. In addition, the judge must consider the purpose for the support in the circumstances and determine whether the support would accomplish it. The court may also look to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, which provides a formula for couples with children, and those without.

The law encompassing spousal support is one of the most complicated areas in family law. It is highly recommended that you seek legal advice regarding spousal support. If you would like to discuss the potential of obtaining an order for spousal support from the court or are facing an application for same, contact David H. Nuri, Barrister & Solicitor for a consultation today.

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