Spousal Support

Spousal support is not automatic. Many factors are considered in determining if a recipient is entitled.

The most common circumstances where spousal support is payable is where one person made sacrifices during the relationship that were detrimental to their career or benefitted the other person’s career. This is referred to as entitlement on a compensatory basis. The most common examples giving rise to a compensatory claim are one person taking time off their career to care for children, or one person leaving employment to move somewhere else in support of the other person’s career.

A person can also be entitled to spousal support on the basis of need. This can arise if one person is struggling to maintain a standard of living that is comparable to the standard of living the parties had during the relationship.

If a party is entitled to spousal support, the next question is what are the incomes of both parties? This is not necessarily the income on the party’s tax return.

Also, if if there is an entitled recipient but the payor’s income is currently low, the spousal support obligation is not over but can be delayed until the payor is earning sufficient income.

Finally, there is duration. How long spousal support continues can be agreed by the parties or decided by the court. Parties can opt for a lump sum of spousal support, which may be a practical solution in certain circumstances. If the parties do not agree to a lump sum arrangement, spousal support is generally paid monthly, which is referred to as periodic spousal support.