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Spousal Support

How much spousal support do I actually have to pay? This is a common question that is asked after or even during the divorce proceedings. In Ontario, every spouse has the right to first support themselves, before they consider other obligations such as spousal support. There is an obligation for spouses to support each other even after they separate, and the court may order these support payments should the other side be unwilling.

The support that one spouse contributes to the other is based on need, along with the spouses ability to pay.
It is also important to determine what definition of spouse that you and your former partner fall under. 1) individuals who are married to each other 2) individuals who have entered into a void or voidable marriage in good faith on the part of the person asserting the claim for support, or 3) individuals who are not married to each other but have cohabited continuously for a period of not less than three years, or in a relationship of some sort of permanence (for example have a child together)

When the courts decide how much each spouse should pay each other in spousal support (if any) they consider the following factors. 1) The length of time the spouses cohabited 2) the roles played by each spouse 3) any orders or agreements with respect to support that may exist between the parties.

You should also be aware of the objectives of spousal support. The court wants to recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to each spouse arising from the marriage or its breakdown. The court wants to ensure the spouses are compensated for child care if one spouse will be the primary caregiver (i.e. the child will live with them). The court will also aim to promote the spouse’s self-sufficiency so they can support themselves and live a normal life.

There is a formula that the court uses in order to determine the amount and duration of spousal supports. Your entitlement to spousal support falls under a 1) compensatory claim or 2) Non-compensatory claim. A compensatory claim is based on the individual’s economic loss or disadvantage because of the marriage OR an individual’s economic benefit from the spouse. A Non-compensatory claim is based on need, usually relating to an individual being unable to meet basic needs or a significant reduction in the recipient spouse’s standard of living after the dissolution of the marriage.

There are many factors that go into a court determining how much spousal support each spouse will get. In order to ensure that the payments you receive or give are fair, it is recommended to seek legal advice to ensure that justice is applied to the highest degree. The lawyers at Bykov Empel LLP have extensive experience in family law and dealing with spousal support payments. Give us a call today to ensure you are not taken advantage of, and get a fair outcome in the ruling on spousal support.