Spousal support is a payment made by one spouse to the other after separation or divorce in order to provide financial support. Married spouses can apply for spousal support under the Divorce Act or the Family Law Act. Unmarried spouses who have been in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years may apply for spousal support under the Family Law Act.
There is no automatic right to receive spousal support upon breakdown of relationship or marriage.
Entitlement to Spousal Support
In order to receive spousal support, you must establish entitlement. Entitlement is determined based on several factors which includes, among others, length of marriage, difference in income, economic disadvantage faced by spouse during the relationship and earning capacity of the spouse.
Types of Spousal Support
There is needs-based spousal support which is essentially provided to help the recipient spouse maintain a similar standard of living after separation. This is usually awarded in short-term marriages and for a certain amount of time.
There is compensatory support which is provided to compensate the recipient for the economic disadvantage as a result of roles adopted by the parties during the relationship.
Duration and Amount of Spousal Support
Once entitlement has been established, duration and amount of spousal support will be determined based on Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. These Guidelines consider factors such as age, income, children and length of relationship to provide a range for duration and amount of spousal support.
Family Law Agreements
Family law agreements are a cost-effective alternative to the litigation route to resolve family law disputes. The parties have the liberty to craft unique solutions for their particular circumstances and needs.
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