What is Spousal Support and How to Apply for It?

| Updated on March 21, 2024

“What is spousal support, and how does it help me after separation?”If you have the same question going through your head and are unaware of your rights and obligations, it is high time you gather the idea.

There are different types of spousal support that are triggered by certain relationships. The amount and duration of the support also vary with marriages and relationships. Ontario Law holds spousal ailment as economic support from a more financially able partner to the other until the latter’s situation improves.

What is Spousal Support?

It is called Alimony in more known terms. It is the money that one partner has to pay the other upon the dissolution of their relationship. This legal obligation may arise from a marriage or a common-law relationship where the claiming partner has to prove his entitlement to it.

What Are the Types  

There are many kinds of spousal support that you or your partner may pick from. Decided by the court, it may be a lump sum, some periodic payments, a time-limited or non time-limited payment, etc. A lump sum one is quite rare if you are a resident of Ontario.

An order of periodic payments is somewhat more common but has presumptions. A time-limited order is awarded for shorter marriages, where the support prevails for a limited number of years after the separation.

Relationships that Trigger the Support

Previously, only married or separated (but previously married) couples could file for spousal support. This has significantly changed after the FLA or Family Law Act. Due to the broadening of the definition of spouse in this act, persons never married but cohabited while in a common-law relationship can also claim for this.

For the last kind, there are specific requirements to be met. They have to have either cohabited for 3 consecutive years or lived in some sort of relationship of permanence with the natural or adoptive child of the other partner.

Duration and Amount of Support

It actually depends on a couple of factors, the most significant of which is if there is Child Support involved. You can also use a child support calculator to get the amount. The length of the relationship and the difference in income, as mentioned previously, are other necessary considerations.

How to calculate the amount that doesn’t involve child support? The amount is the product of the

a) 1.5% to 2% of the number of years the partners have married or cohabited

b) The difference between the annual gross income of the partners during each of marriage or cohabitation, upto a max of 50%

If you have been married for 25 years or more than that, you don’t have to go through all the calculations. It is straight off 37.5% to 50%. However, there are other rulings too for the number of years and the age of the partners.

Claiming for Support

The partner earning the higher income may have to provide for the partner earning a lower income or none at all. However, this also happens on the ground that the partner having the lower-income tends to become self-sufficient once the relationship is over. You can’t choose to rely on your high-income partner forever or as long as he retires. And if you miss the opportunity to be self-sufficient, you fail to justify the support, too.

Before the calculations, it is necessary to take into account your entitlement to the support. It includes the abilities of one to pay and the other to be self-sufficient, the age of the partner while separating, the role of the partner in the relationship, etc.

If the paying partner feels that he can no longer pay or that the payee no longer needs payment, he can file for termination of support. And as the payee, you do not have the limitation of a period to claim and hence, may still be eligible for the claim.

Final Words

What if there is a change in spousal support? That is common, too, if there occurs a change in the financial standing of the providing partner. This is not foreseen while agreeing but a significant one that arises with the situation.

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