Everything You Need about How a Spousal Support Is Decided

spousal support

Spousal support is a very sensitive subject – as it should be. It can also be very complicated, as every case is unique and there are many factors that come into play when deciding on the amount, duration, and style of spousal support. Here is a list of the most common factors that judges consider in determining spousal support.

The following is a general guideline of what you need to know about spousal support.

What Is Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony, is money that you and your spouse can ask for from each other if you are legally separated or divorced. Spousal support is often based on the assumption that it is in the best interest of a child to have both parents living in the same household.

The main objective of spousal support is to provide financial assistance to a spouse who is unable to earn an income, or who earns an income that is less than the paying spouse, who is ordered to pay support. This can be paid in one lump sum or over a regular period of time.

What Are Factors Considered When Deciding Spousal Support

There are two important steps to consider when deciding on spousal support. It is important that you are well aware of these factors as they will likely play a role in your decision-making. Below are the two important factors that are considered when determining spousal support.

1. If you are entitled in receiving the spousal support

2. How much and how long will you be paid

Entitlement for Spousal Support

The entitlement will be based on the spousal support objectives.

The objectives of spousal support recognize the following:

  • child care responsibilities that can greatly affect the ability of a parent to support himself/herself (i.e. caring for a child can affect a parent from building a career or working full time);
  • financial independence after a separation;
  • economic hardship because of separation; and
  • when a spouse gives up opportunities to help the other spouse to reach their career or take great opportunities.

When you are entitled to spousal support, the next move is to know how much and how long you will be receiving the alimony.

Amount and Duration

The amount of spousal support will be based on the following factors:

  • your current financial situation and of your former spouse;
  • the length of the marriage, or the period of cohabitation;
  • the standard of living during the marriage (roles and functions); and
  • the needs of the asking spouse to become self-sufficient (training or education)

The decision for spousal support will be made by a judge based on the many other aspects of your marriage (such as having an affair or who first left the relationship).

What Happens Next after Being Entitled to Spousal Support

Once you are entitled, you can use the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines to determine the amount of support you will get. Although this guideline is not law, this can really help in deciding the appropriate amount of spousal support. Sometimes, knowing the actual amount can be a complicated task to compute so it’s best to take professional legal advice from a trusted lawyer.


Deciding for spousal support can be a very sensitive and complicated process so it’s important that you know the factors that will decide how much you will be getting. Although this article can be a guideline to decide on spousal support, it is best to get professional legal advice so you won’t get any problems during your separation.

Dreyer and Associates Lawyers LLP is dedicated to helping their clients with their family law matters including divorce & separation, child support, and spousal support. We pride ourselves on our client service and are devoted to providing you with the highest quality legal advice. Let us assist you in making informed decisions about spousal support. Schedule an appointment with us today!





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