5 Things You Must Know About Spousal Support

Things You Must Know About Spousal Support

Most people have heard of spousal support. Couples who separate are often aware they may be required to pay or receive support. However, not everyone understands how spousal support works and what it entails. Spousal support refers to the money paid from one spouse to the other after separation or divorce. Also known as maintenance money, spousal support is meant to prevent the spouse from experiencing financial hardship due to the separation or help them become self-sufficient. 

If you’re recently separated or considering divorce, then this article is for you. Here are five things you should know about spousal support:

You Can Get Spousal Support Without Filing For Divorce 

Admittedly, it is usually more complicated to prove that you are entitled to spousal support when you still live with your spouse, but it is not impossible. The payor spouse must prove that they didn’t contribute toward the household’s expenses. Although, we must mention that success is more likely where one spouse has left the marital home. It will augment your claim for support. To further increase your chances of success, you need to hire a firm that specializes in spousal support cases to make your claim.

Spousal Support Can Be Received By Either Spouse

Although the concept of spousal support is now accepted by many, people still don’t know that men and women can be eligible for spousal support if they can successfully establish the claim. Unfortunately, most men think they can’t ask for spousal support. It is far from the truth. The Canadian statutes and guidelines do not discriminate against men or women. Under this jurisdiction, either spouse can file for support under the divorce act as long as they are eligible for it.

The Amount Is Calculated Using The State Or Country’s Guidelines 

Calculating spousal support is one of the most complicated areas of family law. Each case is unique, so there are many factors to consider to ensure the amount arrived at is fair to both parties. Some of these factors include the duration of the marriage, the income of both parties, the ability of the payor spouse to offer support, and the needs of the recipient spouse.  

In Canada, most family lawyers and courts use the spousal advisory guidelines to calculate spousal support. The spousal advisory guidelines use several formulas to estimate the amount to be paid as spousal support, and the length of time it is to be paid. While judges often use the SSAG as a reference point for spousal support, the amounts and durations may differ in each case. Besides, the guidelines are just what is, a guideline, and therefore, not legally binding.

Grounds for refusing to pay spousal support: 

because a particular spouse thinks they are eligible for support doesn’t automatically translate to approval. The spouse that’s supposed to pay can contest a spousal support claim on the following grounds. Although the contesting party will have to present clear cut evidence to support these claims:

  • Adultery 
  • Bigamy
  • Imprisonment for more than two years or conviction of a crime
  • Domestic violence, leading to the endangerment of life of an innocent spouse
  • Abandonment without cause for at least one year.

If the lawyer successfully argues the payor’s case on one or more of any these faults grounds, spousal support for the payee maybe denied. On the other hand, the following factors can also help your case if you’re seeking spousal support from your spouse. These factors include:

  • In a case where a spouse sacrificed the ability to earn during the course of the marriage
  • When a spouse is more actively involved in parenting than the other and needs to be compensated for ongoing child care.
  • If there is a financial need arising from the breakdown of the marriage.
  • There is a prior legal agreement that states you will be paid spousal support if you separate.

Spouses who pay spousal support are generally entitled to a tax deduction and must report the payments as taxable income for the receiving spouse. But these rules must be applied in strict accordance with certain guidelines. This is why you need a get a legal professional to cover all business and insurance matters before you start the process. 

The divorce decree or separation agreement must specify and require spousal support, for example. However, tax deductions are not available for voluntary payments made by one parent to the other. The Canada Revenue Agency offers information about how support payments that you receive or pay are included on your income tax return or deducted.


So, there you have it, some of the important things to know about spousal support. Reading this article can get you apprised on what to expect when seeking for spousal support. However, we must say this article isn’t exhaustive, so you should speak to hire a professional when dealing with spousal support cases. An attorney can determine your rights and obligations based on the specific facts of your case.