Our specialties > Spousal Support

Spousal Support

In Law, marriage is viewed as an equal economic partnership. Therefore, upon separation or divorce, if spousal support is applicable it is one of the issues that the separating couple must agree to or seek legal resolution for. The higher earning spouse may become responsible for paying spousal support to the lower earning spouse until the lower earning spouse becomes self-sufficient. The amount of spousal support is determined by referring to the Spousal Support guidelines (“SSAG”), which is just that … a guideline. A couple’s specific circumstance then weighs in to increase or decrease the amount provided by the guidelines. The law presumes that the lower earning spouse will work toward financial self-sufficiency and that he or she will do so in a reasonable time. Reality does not always follow this script! Child support, special expenses and debt remaining from the marriage further complicate this issue.

Situations vary and outcomes are highly unpredictable as there are many things to consider when determining who will support whom, how much those payments will be and how long they will last. 

A judge must consider how much the requesting party needs to live and how much the paying party can afford to contribute.

Experienced counsel is needed to navigate this issue. In over 30 years of practice, we at Sterling Law  know how to effectively present your case and navigate potential complications before they happen. We understand that when it comes to living after separation or divorce, it is easier said than done. Let us help you to secure the best possible outcome.


Spousal support is calculated based on various factors, including the length of the marriage or relationship, the income and earning potential of each spouse, the roles each spouse played during the marriage, and the needs of the recipient spouse. There is no set formula for calculating spousal support, and the amount and duration of support vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case. To get a clearer understanding of how it is calculated, talk to one of our lawyers at Sterling Law. 

Either spouse can be eligible for spousal support in Canada, regardless of their gender or whether they were the breadwinner during the marriage. To be eligible, the spouse must show that they have a need for support and that the other spouse has the ability to pay.

We have a team of dedicated family lawyers who can provide legal advice and representation in spousal support matters. We can help clients understand your rights and obligations regarding spousal support, negotiate spousal support agreements, and litigate spousal support disputes in court if necessary. We always prioritize your goals and ensure that you receive a fair and reasonable spousal support arrangement that meets their needs and circumstances.

The determination of eligibility for spousal support is complex and depends on several factors. It is recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified family lawyer who can assess your individual circumstances and provide you with guidance on your legal rights and obligations. Our Sterling Law lawyers can help you with your spousal support matters. Please get in touch to book your first consultation with us.

Yes, common-law spouses can be entitled to spousal support in Canada if they meet the legal requirements. The criteria for entitlement to spousal support for common-law spouses are similar to those for married couples, including the length of the relationship, the roles each spouse played during the relationship, and the economic disadvantages suffered by the recipient spouse.

If the paying spouse refuses to pay spousal support, the recipient spouse can seek enforcement through the court system. The court can order the paying spouse to make the payments or take other enforcement measures, such as wage garnishment, seizure of assets, or even imprisonment in extreme cases. For more legal support, please reach out to our office.

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