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Spousal Support Series: Part 1 – What is Spousal Support?

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What is Spousal Support?

There will be featured on this blog a “Spousal Support Series” to provide information about all things spousal support.

As the first question – what is spousal support?

In short, spousal support is money that is paid from one spouse to the other spouse after they separate or divorce.

You may have heard this referred to as “alimony” on TV or in the United States. In Canada, we use the term “spousal support” instead of “alimony”. There are legal criteria which allow us to determine whether a spouse should be receiving spousal support or paying spousal support.

Spousal support can be paid in many forms including monthly payments, in a lump sum payment, in a combination of monthly/lump sum payments or by way of a property transfer.

There are 3 elements to spousal support, which are: entitlement, quantum, and duration. Entitlement is: who gets spousal support? Quantum is: what is the amount of spousal support you will receive? And duration is: how long is this support paid?

It is important to remember that both married spouses and common law spouses may be eligible for spousal support. Generally, the legal criteria to be eligible to seek spousal support is:

(a) been living together continuously for a period of not less than three years; or
(b) have a child together and have been in a relationship of some permanence.

Each of these will be elements in upcoming blogs as part of these series.

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