Spousal Support

Whether or not spousal support is owed depends upon a spouse being able to establish a legal entitlement to it. Entitlement is based upon three main concepts: compensatory, contractual or a non-compensatory claim based on a need or a hardship basis.

Examples of situations which may give rise to a compensatory basis for support are if childcare responsibilities prevented a spouse from working full time or building a career, or a spouse gave up opportunities to help their spouse pursue his or her career.

Typically, a significant disparity in incomes between spouses, is a common example of a claim based upon non compensatory entitlement. In these situations, spousal support may be needed to limit the economic hardship caused by the separation or to help transition after separation.

Spousal support can be a very complicated area of law involving a number of factors and objectives under the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act.

The amount of spousal support owed is based upon a factual matrix including the length of the cohabitation, incomes, and if there is a dependent child or not. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines provides a formulaic approach to determine the amount of spousal support and the length of time it is owed, by providing a range of numbers for both the amount and the duration.

Even with this type of approach, it is not as straightforward of a calculation as using the Child Support Calculator. It can be a complicated calculation requiring guidance for the proper use of information.