Unlike Child Support, Spousal Support is not automatic.
There are instances when a Court might not order spousal support be paid, such as:
– If the marriage is very short
– If both spouses earn close to the same amount of money, or have a similar lack of money
– If the spouse with the higher income also has full time care of the children, depending on the income
– If the spouses signed an agreement stating no spousal support would be claimed or paid
– If a Court were to determine there is no “ entitlement” to spousal support,
Courts go through a two – step process to determine if spousal support is payable. The 1st step is to determine is spousal support is payable. This is called “ entitlement” under the law.
The 2nd step, if one spouse is entitled, is then to determine how much and for how long. This will depend on many factors, the most common of which are:
– The financial situation of each party, ie, does one person have a financial need?
– The length of the marriage
– Whether there were children of the marriage, and if there were, did one spouse take time out of work or a career to care for them.
– Are there any children still at home? Or in post-secondary school?
– Is one party paying more of the joint household expenses and debts?
– What were the financial expectations of the parties during and after the marriage?
– How old is each party, and at what stage of life? Beginning a career? Working? Unemployed? Retired?
– What is the health and prognosis of each party?
This is not a complete list of factors. There could be more, depending upon the individuality of each marriage.
If there is entitlement, then the parties should use the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, together with the Child Support Guidelines, to give a rough idea of what a Court might order. Information is available at www.laws-lois.justice.gc.ca. These are the tables that the Courts and lawyers use to determine Child Support, and then ranges for possible spousal support. These spousal support tables are suggestive only, not determinative. They might not apply to your situation, because of the reasons listed above, or other reasons.