Spousal Support

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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 whether you might get spousal support, and how much. 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.