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Do I Need To Go To Court To Get Spousal Support In Ontario?


It may not be the answer you expect or want to hear, but maybe you will need to go to court to obtain spousal support in a divorce case. There is nothing automatic or guaranteed in this area, contrary to popular myths about the wife always receiving support or a party getting support after a long-term marriage. Canada’s Divorce Act covers spousal support, but the language does not provide a definite answer either. The law says that a court may award it after a party requests spousal support, and the arrangement works according to what the judge thinks is reasonable.

Since there is a possibility that you will need to go to court, you should work with an Ontario spousal support lawyer regardless of whether you might be paying or receiving it. With legal counsel on your side, you can explore the different options for handling spousal support in divorce. 

Prenuptial Agreements 

It is possible to address the issue of spousal support before getting married, though some couples view the notion of a prenup to be awkward or unromantic. However, entering into an agreement while you are in love and getting along is a wise way to prepare for future conflicts. A prenuptial agreement is smart when there is a great disparity between the parties’ assets and/or debts, or when they anticipate that one spouse will forgo education or employment opportunities to support the household. 

Separation Agreements in Ontario Divorce 

Upon filing for divorce, you can engage in the same conversations you would if you were considering a prenuptial agreement. You can cover how to work out spousal support during the proceedings in a divorce case, and the arrangement is referred to as interim support. Spouses may also negotiate an agreement for spousal support after the divorce is complete, such as a lump sum payment or ongoing payments to the lower earning spouse.

Even if you believe an agreement is not possible, there is another option for addressing spousal support: Mediation. Through this process, a mediator works with both parties in an attempt to get them closer together on agreement. A mediation professional has special training to facilitate productive conversations, possibly resulting in compromise. 

Going to Court for Spousal Support 

If unable to agree, either party to a divorce case can file a petition requesting that the judge award spousal support. When making the determination, the court will consider such factors as:

  • Your respective ages;
  • Roles during the marriage;
  • Child support, which takes precedence over spousal support;
  • The parties’ mental and physical health;
  • Each party’s ability to be self-supporting; and
  • Many others.

Our Mississauga, ON Spousal Support Lawyers Can Provide Details

This overview of your options for addressing spousal support is helpful, but there is much more to this important legal issue than a summary can provide. To learn more about the laws, please contact Zagazeta Garcia Lawyers LLP. You can call 905-232-0398 or go online to set up a free consultation. Our office represents clients in Mississauga, Brampton and the Peel Region in a wide range of family law matters, so we are happy to help.



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