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What you need to know about spousal support

There are two things you need to understand about spousal support or maintenance (also known as alimony):

  • a spouse is not automatically entitled to support
  • maintaining your lifestyle is not guaranteed
  • child support comes before spousal support

The courts will consider the following factors:

  • has one spouse been negatively impacted by the marriage or its breakdown?
  • has one spouse been financially disadvantaged by the marriage?
  • what is the financial consequence for the spouse who has primary care of any children?
  • does a spouse need support to make ends meet?

It's best if the parties can reach an agreement without going to court. This could mean the parties:

  • reach an informal agreement that is finalized by their respective lawyers
  • reach an agreement through Mediation

If the decision on spousal support goes to court, a judge will make a judgment based on the Divorce act and the circumstances of the marriage. For example, the judge will look at the length of the marriage, which spouse is providing childcare, when could the spouse achieve self-sufficiency, does one or both spouses have a job and does a spouse need help to get an education.

Common law Support

If parties are not married and there is a relationship breakdown then there may be an entitlement to Partner Support under the Family Law Act. This entitlement is treated similarly to Spousal Support as if the parties were married, but there are different requirements for entitlement including the length of the relationship and whether or not there are children, as well as different considerations.

Expert legal help with applications for spousal support

Advice on how much support you should request - Through careful review of your circumstances and the applicable law, we ensure you apply for the maximum amount of support you are entitled to receive.

Guidance on what steps to take to enforce payment - Do you know what to do if you don't have a Maintenance Enforcement Support Agreement? We do.

Support for an individual who was in a same-sex couple relationship - Assuming you were married or Adult Interdependent Partners, you are entitled to the same support as a member of an opposite-sex couple.

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If you have recently separated from your spouse, we strongly recommend that you seek out an Edmonton divorce lawyer for a consultation. It is important to get early advice (even before attending mediation if you and your spouse agree to go to mediation) regarding your rights and responsibilities.

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