Spousal support, or ‘spousal maintenance’, is money paid by one spouse 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 around 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 they will get, and how it will be paid. Just because you were not married to your ex-partner, or did not have children with them, does not necessarily mean you cannot get spousal support. You do not necessarily have to be unemployed to qualify for spousal support.
In Canada, there are Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) that can be helpful in determining how much spousal support you might get if you are entitled to it. Unlike the Child Support Guidelines, the SSAGs are not law – the courts may use the SSAGs as a helpful tool, but they are not required to.
You can click on any of the topics on the left-hand side of this page for more information on spousal support. Frequently asked questions, or ‘FAQs’ are where you will find answers to the questions people ask most about these topics.
For general information on spousal support, click here.
For information on how to get or change a spousal support order, click here.
For information about responding to a notice of registration of a support order made outside of Canada, click here.