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After twenty-eight years of marriage, the Long Island Medium, Theresa Caputo, and her husband, Larry Caputo, have decided to legally separate. Theresa and Larry have two children together, Victoria and Larry Jr.; both children are in their 20s.

The couple released a joint statement to People magazine saying, "after 28 years of marriage, we have decided to legally separate. We will always love each other and our two wonderful children. We are united in supporting each other and our family".

In Ontario, how does a long term-marriage impact spousal support obligations?

In order for a Court to determine quantum and duration of spousal support, the spouse seeking spousal support must first satisfy the court that he/she is entitled to same. If the Court finds that the spouse seeking support is entitled to receive support, then the Court will proceed to determine the quantum and duration of the support.

Generally speaking, the duration that one spouse must pay the other spousal support depends on the duration of the couple's relationship, the age of the recipient at the date of separation, and if the couple has any children.

There is a positive correlation between the length a couple's cohabitation/marriage and the duration of the payor-spouse's child support obligations.

When determining the duration of spousal support, there are two rules provided for in the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, which may lead the Court to order spousal support for an indefinite period of time. The rules are as follows:

  1. The Rule of 20. Whereby the recipient spouse receives indefinite support if the couple has been together for twenty year or more;
  2. The Rule of 66. Whereby the sum of the length of the marriage/cohabitation and the recipient spouses' age total sixty-five (65) or higher.

Given that the Caputos were married for 28 years, if the parties were in Ontario, and either Theresa or Larry could establish entitlement, it is likely that the recipient spouse would receive indefinite spousal support from the other.