Spousal support is financial assistance paid by one spouse to the other after they separate or divorce.
You may or may not have a claim to spousal support if your marriage our common law relationship has ended.
Federal and provincial laws outline the specific rules for who, what, when, and how spousal support is determined, so it’s important to have an experienced lawyer by your side to ensure your rights and interests are protected.
Objectives & Factors
The objectives of a spousal support Order are to:
- recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages arising from the marriage or its breakdown
- divide any financial consequences arising from the care of any child of the marriage over and above any obligation of child support
- relieve any economic hardship arising from the breakdown of the marriage; and
- as much as possible, promote each spouse’s economic self‑sufficiency within a reasonable period of time
In making an Order for spousal support, the Court takes into account the condition, means, needs, and other circumstances of each spouse, including:
- the length of time you lived together
- the functions each of you performed during that time; and
- any order, agreement or arrangement between you regarding spousal support
Other factors to be examined are whether either of you have legal obligations to support another person (eg. another spouse or children), or either of you live with someone else who is contributing financially to your household.
How much and how long?
The Courts must consider whether spousal support would meet the following purposes:
- to compensate the spouse with the lower income for sacrificing some power to earn income during the marriage
- to compensate the spouse with the lower income for ongoing care of the children, or
- to help a spouse who is in financial need
At the same time, the Court must consider that a spouse who receives support has an obligation to become self-supporting, where reasonable.
There is no set formula to determine the amount (if any) or the length of time spousal support may be paid. Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines exist, and judges often base their decisions on them, but they are not obliged to follow them. The formulas are complex and take into consideration whether there are dependent children involved. If you apply for spousal and child support, priority is given to child support.
You and your ex-spouse may create your own support agreements prior to or during the divorce process, but it’s highly advisable to have legal representation, even if you agree on the support amount.
At Bodnaruk Law, we are able to determine your eligibility for spousal support, the amount that may be ordered in your case, and the length of time you may receive it. We are also able to provide you with options should there be application to change spousal support due to economic hardship or a change in circumstances.
Proof of Income
Each of you must provide full financial disclosure in order to properly assess whether you have an entitlement for spousal support, and if so, the duration and amount.