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Are you entitled to spousal support after a marriage?

Some readers from the Ontario area might be interested to learn more about how spousal support levels are calculated and determined in Canada. Although many believe that spousal support is only relegated for stay-at-home spouses to help them get back on their feet after a marriage, this is not necessarily the only factor involved in eligibility to receive support.
The Department of Justice maintains a series of Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines that can aid couples in determining the range of support that may be required of them. The various formulas of the SSAG account for such factors as the presence of children, the length of the marriage and the income level of the spouses involved.
Although the SSAG formulas are mere estimations, many judges in Canada do use them as a basis for determining appropriate support ranges. Spousal support for longer lasting marriages tends to be either compensatory or non-compensatory. While compensatory spousal support is indeed intended to equalize a couple’s post-marital financial situation, and thus correspond with common preconceptions of spousal support, non-compensatory can be required even in cases where both spouses were duly employed throughout the marriage.
Non-compensatory support often provides aid to a former spouse that can no longer support him or herself financially, such as if they suffer from an illness. Whether or not someone is eligible to receive spousal support can depend on various factors that bear further scrutiny. If someone is considering a divorce but is concerned about their entitlement status, they may wish to consult their situation with a lawyer.
A lawyer may advise a client as to their eligibility status with the aid of resources such as the SSAGs and other aspects of Canadian law. Furthermore, a lawyer’s advocacy might help prevent a spouse’s claims from being marginalized if the case proceeds to court.
Source: Department of Justice, “Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines,” Carol Rogerson, July 2008
Source:, “Reasonable Doubt: Breaking up may be expensive to do“, Laurel Dietz, August 15, 2014
Source:, “Reasonable Doubt: Breaking up may be expensive to do“, Laurel Dietz, August 15, 2014