Spousal Support, – also called “alimony” or “maintenance”, is money paid by one spouse to the other after they separate or divorce. Many factors affect whether a married or common-law spouse is entitled to spousal support and how much support they should receive.
The federal Divorce Act sets out the law with respect to spousal support for married couples who divorce. The Ontario Family Law Act set out the factors the Court should consider when determining spousal support for unmarried couples.
Factors Judges Consider
Judges must consider a number of factors when deciding if a spouse should get support after a divorce. These factors include:
- Financial means and needs of both spouses
- Length of the marriage
- Roles of each spouse during their marriage;
- Effect of those roles and the breakdown of the marriage on both spouses’ current financial positions
- Care of the children
- The goal of encouraging a spouse who receives support to become self-sufficient, in so far as practicable
- Any orders, agreements or arrangements already made about spousal support
Judges must also consider whether spousal support would meet the following purposes:
- To compensate the spouse with the lower income for sacrificing some power to earn income during the marriage
- To compensate the spouse with the lower income for ongoing care of children
- To help a spouse who is in financial need if the other spouse has the ability to pay
At the same time, the judge must consider that a spouse who receives support has an obligation to become self-supporting, where reasonable.
Canada has a no-fault divorce law. This means the reasons the marriage ended do not affect a spouse’s entitlement to support or the legal obligation of the other spouse to pay support following separation.
Spousal Support and Taxes
Spousal support payments are taxable to the recipient and tax deductible to the payor.
Request a Consultation
To learn more about your spousal support obligations or rights, request a consultation from Bombardieri Family Law.