30. Spousal Support (Alimony) Entitlement

Spousal Support (Alimony) Entitlement

Spousal support is an issue after the separation of many married and common law couples.  It is a complicated area of law that is often misunderstood by people who are not family law lawyers.  As a result, it is an area where separating spouses can make some very expensive mistakes.  One of the biggest possible mistakes to make is the assumption that a spouse is entitled to spousal support.  People look at on-line support calculators and assume that if that calculation shows spousal support owing that there must be support owing.  That is absolutely a mistake.  The Guidelines on which those calculations on based state that you should not even look at those calculations until it is clear that there is entitlement to spousal support.

Entitlement to spousal support is harder to achieve that many people assume.  The Family Law Statutes set out specific tests and circumstances when spousal support is payable, which if not met, means no spousal support.  Entitlement can be established on the basis of contractual obligations, compensatory support or non-compensatory support.  Where entitlement is established, the same considerations affect how much spousal support is paid and for how long.  It is not always correct to assume the midpoint for quantum and duration of spousal support.  Considering all these factors correctly can put a lot more money into the pocket of a separating spouse.  This edition of the Ontario Family Podcast gives an overview of entitlement to spousal support and all these factors. Separating spouses should list to this podcast to make sure that they do not shortchange themselves.

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