Spousal Support

Spousal support is money paid by a former spouse or partner to the other after separation or divorce. The rules governing spousal support for divorcing couples are set out by the Divorce Act, while the rules governing this issue for common law couples is governed by Ontario’s Family Law Act.

It is possible to obtain spousal support in one of three ways: through a Marriage Contract/Cohabitation Agreement prior to marriage, through a Separation Agreement, or through a divorce application. However, before going down this road, it is important to note that spousal support consists of two main factors:

entitlement

quantum and duration

Entitlement requires looking at whether one of the spouses is deserving of spousal support. This forces one to examine the length of time the parties cohabited; the functions performed by each during cohabitation, and any orders and agreements entered into by the parties to resolve the issue. It is important to keep in mind that the underlying purpose of spousal support is to:

1. recognize economic advantages or disadvantages arising from the marriage or its breakdown;
2. apportion financial consequences of child care;
3. relieve economic hardship resulting from marriage breakdown; and
4. promote economic self-sufficiency of each spouse.

Once entitlement is determined, quantum and duration is often addressed by using the calculations provided by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines.
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 spousal support, contact NuriLaw Professional Corporation for a consultation today.