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What Is Spousal Support?

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Spousal support is a type of monetary support that the courts can award when a couple divorces. It is money that is paid on a monthly basis from one party to the other. The goal of spousal support is to provide temporary financial support to one party as they get back on their feet and more financially established after the divorce.

Spousal support amounts can be significant and can play a large role in your finances after the divorce. If you are getting a divorce and you think that spousal support may be a factor, talking with an lawyer can ensure that you understand what to expect.

Under What Circumstances is Spousal Support Awarded?

In Ontario, spousal support can be a factor for marriages or common law relationships of at least three years. There are some situations where non-marriage relationships may also qualify, specifically if the relationship resulted in a child. Spousal support amounts are determined by taking a variety of factors into consideration. These can include the income of both parties, whether responsibilities during the relationship led to one party not being able to pursue career or education goals, the number of children, and any special circumstances.

How Long Do I Have to Pay Spousal Support?

How long a spousal support order is in place usually depends on how long the relationship lasts. The general duration of spousal support ranges from six months to one year for every year of the relationship. This means that a 10-year relationship could result in a spousal support order that is valid for five to 10 years. However, if the relationship lasted at least 20 years, the courts have the option of making a spousal support order permanent, which is often commonly referred to as alimony.

What Should I Do If I’m Unable to Pay?

If you think you may be unable to meet the obligations of a spousal support order, it’s important to take action as early as possible. Let the courts know that you don’t think that the spousal support amount is reasonable considering your financial situation or that you don’t believe that the relationship qualifies for spousal support to be a factor. You will need to provide evidence and documentation for any argument you are making, and this is where an lawyer can be of service.

Whether you are the party receiving or paying spousal support, it’s important to understand your rights, obligations, and legal options. Our lawyers are experienced with cases involving spousal support and can provide counsel on how to present your case to the courts, how to request a modification of a spousal support order, and how to enforce a support order. For more information on our team and how we can help, call 647-933-2397 today to schedule an appointment.

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