Spousal support

How does spousal support work in Ontario?

Married and common law spouses may be entitled to spousal support, often referred to as ‘alimony’, based on the means of the spouse who is paying, and needs of the spouse who receives spousal support.

If you earn more than your spouse and your spouse has the ‘need’ for spousal support, you may be required to pay spousal support, unless you have a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement that provides otherwise.

Unlike child support, there are no legislated ‘tables’ providing for clear spousal support payment amounts.  

Spousal support is considered taxable income in the hands of the recipient and is tax deductible to the payor. The factors that guide the analysis of how much spousal support should be paid include things like, the income difference between the two spouses, how long you lived together as a couple (married and/or common law), whether one spouse lost out on career opportunities to the benefit of the other spouse’s career by, for example, staying home to care for children and the post-separation parenting arrangements.

A determination of spousal support rights and obligations can be very complicated and you should always speak with a family law lawyer to understand your options.

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