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How is Spousal Support Determined?


Spousal support is one of the most important aspects of a divorce. It is a type of payment that is made by the higher income  spouse to the lower income spouse to assist them  to become self-sufficient.   Spousal support may be paid after the separation and in the case of married spouses after divorce.  Duration of spousal support may depend on the length of the length of the common-law relationship or marriage and the circumstances of both spouse at the time of separation. It generally lasts until the person receiving it can rehabilitate themselves by finding a job or going back to school to learn a new trade or skill.  Generally, Spousal support is considered rehabilitative and not permanent.

A Judge Review

Some of the factors the judge will review include the following:

  • Assets of both parties
  • Income of both parties
  • Age of both parties
  • Standard of living
  • Health of both parties
  • How each person contributed to each other’s career
  • Ability to self-sustain themselves
  • Length of the marriage
  • Economic factors for each party
  • Effect of divorce on each party
  • Any other factors the judge deems appropriate

Children or No Children 

Another major factor in determining spousal support is if there are children present in the relationship. If there are children from the common-law relationship or marriage and child support is being paid, it could be possible that the spousal support amount will be less than if child support isn’t being paid. This isn’t guaranteed though as the parent with sole custody of the children could wind up getting child support and spousal support at the end of the spousal relationship.


A big factor in determining spousal support is the ability for the person paying support to pay support and be able to sustain their own life at the same time. If the judge deems that this is not possible the person paying support might only have to pay a nominal amount or might not have to pay support at all. What you need to know in this situation is to never lie on a financial disclosure form about your income to avoid paying spousal support. This could put you in an even more difficult situation legally.

Length of Payment 

As mentioned earlier, the length of payment for spousal support will be until the recipient can find a job or become self-supportive. If there is no termination date listed on the spousal support order the judge will review the case periodically to determine if it is time to end the payments.

Are you headed for a separation or divorce? Are you worried that you won’t receive a fair amount of spousal support from your former spouse? It’s important to discuss this situation with an experienced family law lawyer who can answer all of your questions and alleviate your fears. Contact the firm of Zagazeta Garcia LLP in Mississauga today to schedule a consultation.



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