Previously known as “spousal alimony”, spousal support is money paid by one spouse to the other as financial assistance to ease his/her inability to maintain a standard of living similar to that which was enjoyed during the relationship, or to lessen some financial disadvantage experienced by one spouse as a result of something that happened during the relationship, or its breakdown (for example, missed career opportunities, moving around to further the other party’s career, staying at home to raise children, etc.).
There are two types of spousal support, compensatory and non-compensatory needs-based. Both types serve the following four objectives:
- To deal with any economic advantages or disadvantages spouses may face as a result of the relationship or its breakdown;
- To share the financial consequences arising from care of the children;
- To reduce the financial hardship a spouse will experience as a result of the separation; and
- To encourage each spouse to become financially self-sufficient within a reasonable period of time.
Spousal support is not a right, it is an entitlement that must be established first and foremost. This is why spousal support is a complicated area of family law in Ontario. Whether you are the recipient or the payor, it is of paramount importance to have a professional Ontario spousal support lawyer who has expertise in this area and understands the nuances of spousal support in Ontario to help you navigate through this.
Whether you, or your spouse, are entitled to spousal support is the first issue. The quantum of spousal support and for how long it is payable is another. If established, the support is payable as at the date of separation. There is a great deal of discretion in determining spousal support and amounts and durations vary significantly.
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) were developed to provide more certainty in this area of family law; however, unlike the Child Support Guidelines, they are not mandatory and offer a wide range of results. They are used as a useful tool for analysis; however, caselaw (judge-made law) trends tend to dictate. Having a family lawyer who knows these trends and is able to apply them to your circumstance is crucial.
Here at Noori Law, our family lawyers know spousal support. Contact us for all your spousal support related needs!