Spousal Support and Adult Interdependent Partner Support

In some situations, support for a former spouse or partner may be payable.  Sometimes called alimony or maintenance, spousal support (if the parties were married) or partner support (if the parties were not married) is a financial obligation that sometimes arises on separation, as set out in either the Divorce Act (married) or the Family Law Act (not married).

At the outset, before spousal support or partner support can be ordered the recipient must establish that he or she is entitled to support.  Firstly, it must be established that the parties are or were spouses or adult interdependent partners.  A former spouse or partner may then be entitled based upon one of three bases – the contractual basis, the compensatory basis or the non-compensatory basis.  The contractual basis means that there exists a contract, such as a pre-nuptial agreement, setting out that support is payable.  The compensatory basis is meant to compensate one spouse for sacrifices made by that spouse to their earning or earning capacity.  Two common examples of this would be where a parent leaves their employment to care for children, or where a spouse leaves their employment to relocate in order to accommodate the other spouse.  The non-compensatory basis is established when one spouse has a need for support, and the other spouse has the ability to pay support.

How are Spousal Support amounts determined?

Once entitlement is established, the amount of support and the duration of support must be determined.

There are numerous factors that are considered in making such a determination, such as:

  • the length of the relationship
  • the incomes of both parties
  • their respective budgets

If there is any child support payable, that is accounted for first.  Other considerations sometimes include the division of property or whether either party has a new partner.  None of these factors are generally determinative on their own, and there is a wide discretion in terms of determining both the amount and duration of support, whether through negotiation or by a judge’s order.

Spousal or partner support may be payable monthly, or may be payable all at once in a lump sum payment.  Support payments may take the form of a transfer of funds from one party to the other, but there are other options that may be available, such as making bill payments on behalf of the other spouse, or through an unequal division of the joint property.  Please call Capital City Law today so that we can help you determine if spousal support is an issue in your separation, and what arrangements will work best for you and your family.

photo of Edmonton Family Lawyer Jordan Bienert of Capital City Law

Contact Edmonton Family Lawyer Jordan Bienert

If you have questions about Spousal Support or Adult Interdependent Partner Support, call Jordan at Capital City Law today at (780) 462-4321 or contact us online.

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