Spousal support is money paid by one former spouse or partner, to another. It may be paid for different reasons, and in different ways, but is often paid to help the lower income spouse cover their living expenses. This type of support is sometimes called ‘alimony’ in other countries.
The law respecting spousal support is one of the most complicated in family law. There are many different factors that the court will look at to decide if a spouse should get spousal support, how much spousal support they should l get, for how long they will receive spousal support, and how it will be paid. Spousal support may be applied for by both married and non-married spouses. Both males and females can apply for spousal support.
Some of the factors a court will examine to determine whether a spouse is entitled to spousal support include:
- Roles and functions performed during the marriage by each spouse
- Respective incomes (and the potential income earning potential)
- Respective ages
- Any potential disabilities or reasons for unemployment
- The lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage
- Any childcare responsibilities assumed and any ongoing childcare responsibilities
In Canada, there are Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) that are a tool that assist family law lawyers and the Court in determining certain spousal support parameters (such as quantum and duration). Unlike the Child Support Guidelines, the SSAGs are not law.
If you have any questions about spousal support (as the recipient or payor), speak with us at 416-967-6111 x 31