Money Matters - Spousal/Partner Support

What is Spousal/Partner Support?

  • Spousal support is money that is paid by an ex-spouse or ex-partner to another to help with expenses (used to be called alimony).
  • Spousal support should ensure that once a relationship is over, one spouse does not suffer economic hardship.
  • It should also compensate spouses for the financial impact of the relationship. In most cases this is giving up work to care for children.
  • Spousal support should help each spouse become economically independent within a reasonable amount of time, if possible.

Receiving Spousal Support

  • Spousal support can be addressed in a separation agreement (if so, it should be remembered that this can become a part of a final divorce order).
  • If you and your partner cannot agree on spousal support, you can apply to Court to ask for an order.

What is the Amount and Duration of Spousal Support?

Once it is decided that a spouse has a right to receive spousal support, a Judge will often use the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines to decide how much spousal support should be paid, and for how long.

Unlike the Child Support Guidelines, which are law, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are recommendations; they are not the law.

View the guidelines. opens new window

Judges will look at a number of factors when considering the amount of spousal support. Generally, the behaviour of the partner and the reason for the breakdown of the relationship is not relevant.

Who Can Apply for Spousal/Partner Support?

Either partner to married or common law relationships may be entitled to spousal support. It is especially important to consult with a lawyer about your eligibility if you are in a common law relationship.