Ana Kraljevic Law Firm

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Spousal Support

Determining spousal support in Ontario can be a very complex and nuanced task. There is no cookie-cutter or one-size fits all approach because every case is unique and there are myriad factors to be considered. It could be said that determining spousal support is as much an art as a science as it requires a lawyer to have a firm grasp of the relevant case law and apply the law skillfully and persuasively to the facts at hand.

The starting point in any application for spousal support is to determine whether the spouse can establish entitlement.  

There are two statutes which govern spousal support.

If you are married, the relevant legislation is s. 15(2) of the Divorce Act, R.S.C. 1985 (2nd Supp.), c.3.

This provision states that the court may make an order for spousal support by taking into account the length of time that the parties cohabited and the functions performed by each spouse during cohabitation. Specifically, the court will make an order which achieves the following policy objectives:

  1. to recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages arising from the marriage or its breakdown;
  2. to apportion between the spouses any financial consequences arising from the care of children of the marriage;
  3. to relieve economic hardship arising from the breakdown of the marriage;
  4. to promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse.

If you are common-law, you would look to sections 30 and s. 33 of the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990. 

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines were introduced in 2008 as a practical tool to assist lawyers and judges in determining a fair amount of spousal support. Unlike the Child Support Guidelines which are legally mandated, the use of the Spousal Support Guidelines (SSAG) is completely voluntary. The overarching concept of the Spousal Support Guidelines is income sharing. The SSAG formula is driven by the parties’ income and the difference between the income levels of the parties.

There are two scenarios for SSAG support: 

  1. without child spousal support formulas;
  2. with child spousal support formulas.
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