What is considered a “spouse” in Ontario?

Spousal support is only payable to a “spouse” in Ontario. Once you get married, you are considered to be a spouse. That doesn’t mean you need to be married; if you are in a common-law relationship, you could be considered a spouse for spousal support purposes if you and your partner have lived together for three consecutive years, or if you and your partner have a child and have lived together in a relationship of some permanence.

How is spousal support decided?

In many cases, one person spends more of their time looking after their children and home, while the other works. This leaves one spouse at an economic disadvantage, as they did not have an equal chance to earn money and develop their marketable skills in the work force. According to the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, here are some of the things that are taken into account when determining spousal support:

  • the age and health of the couple;
  • available employment opportunities;
  • the effect being in the relationship had on employment opportunities;
  • the contribution made to family care during the relationship;
  • the contribution made to the other person’s career;
  • the family’s standard of living before separation;
  • the time it will take for the person to become self-sufficient; and
  • the need to stay at home to take care of young children or adult children with a disability.

Spousal support lawyers in Peterborough

If you are separating from your spouse, contact our spousal support lawyers to determine you and your former spouse’s support entitlements and obligations.