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Spousal Support

Common Law Spouses and Support

Common law spouses are often awarded less spousal support or are given support for a shorter duration than married spouses.

The factors that affect entitlement to support and the amount of support are generally the same between married and common law spouses. Your lawyer will best be able to help you determine how much support you can claim.

Upon breakdown of marriage, a spouse may apply for an Order for support.

There are many circumstances relevant to determining a spouse's entitlement to spousal support, including:

· the duration of the marriage;
· any economic disadvantage, hardship or financial consequences experienced by a spouse as a consequence of the marriage or the breakdown of the marriage;
· the degree to which a support order will promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period of time.

Spousal support payments may be deducted from the taxable income of the payor.

Legal advice should be obtained to determine:

· whether there is an entitlement to spousal support;
· the amount of support payable;
· the duration such support shall be payable;
· whether there are sufficient changes in circumstances to justify a variation of an existing spousal support Order or Agreement.

The court routinely uses support to maintain an equality of lifestyles between separated spouses. If there is a disparity in income, support will generally be ordered. Also, equalization of incomes, especially where there are children, is common.

Every spouse has an obligation to provide support for himself or herself and for the other spouse, in accordance with need, to the extent that he or she is capable of doing so, pursuant to s. 30 of the Ontario Family Law Act. Section 15 of the federal Divorce Act also provides for the payment of reasonable support, where circumstances warrant, by one spouse to the other.

Contact us for more information or if you wish to obtain spousal support advice in your family law matter. 

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