Are You Entitled to Spousal Support?

Family Lawyer | November 23, 2021 | Written by Crystal Arbour

When a couple files for divorce and separates, one spouse may be eligible to receive financial support—defined as spousal support—from the other. It should be noted that spousal support is distinct from child support. With so many elements to consider, it can be difficult to determine if you are entitled to spousal support. As experts in family law, the team at Linley Welwood understands how difficult it can be to understand the requirements and other elements surrounding spousal support. That is why our team has compiled some important information to help you determine if you are entitled to support and what to expect if you are approved.

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Entitlement Requirements

An individual may be eligible for spousal support if there is a defined need for it based on the “objectives of spousal support”. The spousal support objectives recognize that childcare responsibilities can affect a parent’s ability to support themselves and their child. For example, childcare responsibilities may prevent a parent from working a full-time job or building a career. Spousal support could also compensate a spouse who gave up opportunities to help the other spouse pursue their own opportunities or career, though this can be more difficult to prove. Alternatively, spousal support may be needed to limit the economic hardship caused by the separation or to assist a spouse as they become financially independent after separation. This is especially true if one spouse did not work while they were married.

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Amount and Duration

The amount and duration of spousal support is determined after considering a variety of circumstances and elements including:

  • The financial situation of both spouses.
  • The duration of the relationship.
  • The roles and functions of each spouse during the relationship.
  • What a spouse will need to become self-sufficient. This can include extra training or education.

Based on this information, one of two decisions will be made:

  • No spousal support is needed.
  • Spousal support should be paid in one lump sum or regular payments over a certain number of months or years. This will be set by agreement between the parties or by an Order of the court.

A judge will not look at any other aspects of your marriage when deciding on spousal support. This means that affairs, prior separations, and other elements will not be considered.

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Is Spousal Support Available for Common-Law Relationships?

Yes. A partner in a common-law relationship can be entitled to spousal support if the relationship was “marriage-like” for a continuous period of at least two years. In most cases, the same entitlement requirements for spousal support are the same whether the spouses were married or common-law.

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To learn more about spousal support and other areas of family law, get in touch with the experts at Linley Welwood. We can be reached by phone at 604-850-6640 or through our online contact form and will be happy to discuss your case or answer any questions you may have.

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