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Spousal support is not guaranteed after a divorce

When a marriage ends in Ontario, there may be questions about spousal support. Although alimony is available, it is not a guaranteed payment or income after a divorce. Every case is handled individually, and if couples cannot come to mutual agreements about spousal support, they may ask the court to determine whether it must be paid, and what the amount will be.

Alimony is usually a payment made to an ex-spouse who sacrificed a career in favour of caring for children and being a homemaker, although there might be other reasons. However, that person will be expected to take positive steps toward becoming self-supporting. In fact, the court may award alimony to be paid for a specified period to allow the other spouse time to re-enter the job market.

If a court is asked to determine spousal support, the judge will consider specific factors, including the needs and financial means of each spouse. The length of time the marriage lasted and each party's role in the marriage will be considered. The judge will also look at the impact the divorce has on the financial positions of each spouse. Furthermore, if there is child support to be paid, that will receive preference when the judge determines alimony payments.

Spousal support can become a complicated issue. For that reason, many people in Ontario seek the support and guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer to explain their rights and the most appropriate manners in which to pursue the matter. A lawyer can even assist with the negotiations if the spouses want to try to reach an agreement out of court.

Source: FindLaw Canada, "Spousal support", Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Jan. 31, 2018

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