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After nearly 13 years of marriage, Mary J. Blige recently filed for divorce from husband, Martin "Kendu" Isaacs - who also happens to be Blige's manager. Blige cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for their marriage breakdown, and listed their date of separation as "to be determined". The couple have no children together.

Although their divorce seems fairly civil, Blige has interestingly asked the court to deny Isaacs spousal support.
Where spousal relationships are considered financial partnerships, spousal support is money paid by one spouse to another after they separate or divorce. There are several purposes for such support payments:

  • to recognize one spouse's contributions to the relationship,
  • to share or alleviate financial costs and hardship,
  • to help one spouse become financially independent, and/or
  • to rectify any economic advantage or disadvantage cause by the relationship or its breakdown.

In Ontario, neither a marriage nor mere disparity in income entitles one spouse to spousal support. Before determining an amount or duration of spousal support, the spouse must demonstrate a threshold "entitlement" to such support.

There are three general grounds for entitlement:

  1. Compensatory: Based either on the recipient spouse's economic loss because of the relationship, or on their conferral of economic benefits on the other spouse, the purpose of a compensatory claim is to 'compensate' one party for their unpaid efforts.
  2. Non-Compensatory: Based on need, a non-compensatory claim reflects the economic interdependence that develops in spousal relationships.
  3. Contractual: A contractual claim is grounded in a domestic contract that outlines both spouses' support rights and obligations.

In terms of Blige's "family affair", her claim against spousal support would be nullified if Isaacs were able to establish entitlement on one or more of the above grounds.

Once a spouse has established an entitlement to spousal support, the appropriate amount of and duration for the support may be determined using the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines.