Spousal Support

Spousal Support on Common Law Separation Canada

If you are married, you have an automatic right (or obligation) to receive (or pay) spousal support.
In Ontario, if you are living in a common law relationship, you do not obtain this right until you have lived together for three years, or are living in a relationship of some permanence and you are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.

In Nova Scotia you must be in a common law relationship for two years before spousal support rights or obligations kick in.

In Alberta you can bring a claim for spousal support if you are in an adult interedependent relationship.

One further difference between married and unmarried couples is that a common law partner must normally apply for spousal support within a short period of time after separation.
There is no such requirement for a married person.
There used to be a two-year limitation period in Ontario; however, this has been abolished and there is now no limitation.
In British Columbia there is a one year limit.

The amount of spousal support is determined in the same way for common law partners as for married couples.
The factors that the court considers in determining the proper amount of spousal support, in all provinces including Ontario, are:

  • your assets and your spouse’s assets,
  • your income and your spouse’s income,
  • your health and your spouse’s health,
  • your age and your spouse’s age,
  • the ability of your spouse to become self-sufficient,
  • the standard of living when you lived with your spouse,
  • the contribution your spouse has made to your career, and
  • the economic hardship suffered by your spouse arising from the marriage.

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