Learning the Basics about Spousal Support in Canada

Calculating spousal support in Canada

The legal separation of spouses can be quite a heartbreak for some while a relief for others. When discussing separation, many important details have to be cleared up. These talks can often involve asset ownership, living arrangements, and more. One term that is also flung into the conversation is spousal support.

Spousal support in Canada is something that many ex-partners may have to discuss when separating. Former couples can get entirely heated on the topic as it involves a one-sided disposition and a considerable amount of cash. If you seek to know and learn more about spousal support, keep reading.


Spousal Support Definition

Spousal support, also referred to as alimony or spousal maintenance, is described as a scenario where one of two separate spouses must provide the adequate support needed by the other. This is something that spouses who were married under Canadian law have to deal with. Common-law partnerships are also covered when discussing spousal support.

The payer is decided upon if one spouse is unable to have enough finances and resources to take care of themselves after the separation. Spousal support is arranged and settled in court, with the terms varying from case to case.


Spousal Support Conditions

One of the most important things that the court has to determine is the amount that a payer has to give to their former spouse. The amount can depend on the capability of the payer, taking into consideration their income. The Spousal Support Advisory Guideline is used as a guide.

The duration of the payments must also be determined. Short-term marriages and partnerships that were under 20 years will be paid in half the time at least. For example, if two people were wed for 15 years, it is possible for the payer to provide monthly payments for at least 7.5 years. That arrangement may also last for 15 years, depending on the circumstances.


Spousal Support Entitlements

Many often wonder whether spousal support is actually necessary. Some separations can actually occur without it, but spouses who can present their entitlements to that support will be heard by the court. Here are a few circumstances that the court will recognize as an entitlement for spousal support:

  • Contractual support is needed when separated spouses had a prior agreement to their marriage or partnership, such as a prenup or a period of cohabitation. Any of the two is considered as grounds for instilling spousal support.
  • Compensatory support is needed when one of two separated spouses had proceeded with their marriage or partnership in place of their education and career. This also applies if one had forgone other earning opportunities for their relationship.
  • Non-compensatory. Non-compensatory support is needed when one of two separated spouses is expected to undergo hardships as a result of the couple parting ways. It’s believed that both parties shouldn’t have unbalanced living conditions upon separating.



Understanding the fundamentals of spousal support can be pretty eye-opening, but there’s a lot more to it. If you need advice or aid in dealing with spousal support, don’t hesitate to contact a family lawyer who can help.

Dreyer and Associates Lawyers LLP can assist you with spousal support. We have helped families across the Fraser Valley, offering a diverse array of experience across family law, wills and estates, residential conveyancing and the like. Contact us today!





Recent Posts