How Do I Know If I am Entitled to Spousal Support?

How Do I Know If I am Entitled to Spousal Support?

Separations and divorces can easily become confusing and overwhelming for individuals going through this highly emotional process. When it comes to sp

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Separations and divorces can easily become confusing and overwhelming for individuals going through this highly emotional process. When it comes to spousal support or alimony (as it is referred to at times), there is no straight answer to whether you will be entitled to receive support or if you will be obligated to support your ex. Ontario law identifies couples that are either married or in a common-law relationship as being engaged in a financial partnership. This, at times leads to the spouse earning the higher income to be forced to pay support to the spouse earning the lower income. This payment is intended to allow the receiving party time to work on getting to that same standard of living on their own.

There are many factors that go into the consideration of spousal support, such as; the age of the individuals at the time of separation, how long they were together for, the ability for the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient, the ability for the paying spouse to make payments, and what the roles of the spouses were during the relationship.

There is no limitation on time to request for support, this means that even if a separation or divorce is finalized, the disadvantaged spouse may still be able to make a claim to receive support.

If spousal support is granted, the amount to be paid and for how long is calculated using several factors and considerations. One of the more common factors looked at is if one of the spouses faced financial loss or hardship due to decisions made for the family unit. Examples of this is if one of the spouses left their employment to stay home and care for children, or if they had to leave their job due to a relocation for a career advancement opportunity of the other spouse. The spouse that made the sacrifices, will be compensated for their economical setbacks.

Spousal support is not always set in stone. This means if situations change considerably for either party, this can affect the payment amounts for the support. If the receiving spouse accepts a promotion or gets a new job that significantly betters their financial standing, this may entitle the payee to reduce or even conclude their spousal support payments. On the reverse side, if the spouse paying the support has a significant negative downturn in their income, this can lead to a decrease in spousal support payments. A change in situation for either spouse does not necessarily reflect on the amount of time of the spousal support, especially if this change was foreseen during the separation process.

If you are currently going through a separation and are unsure if you will be eligible for or obligated to pay spousal support, or if you have an obligation to pay spousal support and feel like there was a significant change in the other parties income that may lead to a reduction in your payments, speak to your Family Law attorney to fully understand your rights and possible next steps.

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