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Crown actress Claire Foy confirmed her separation from her husband Stephen Campbell Moore recently. Foy and Campbell Moore were married for four years prior to their separation. The couple have a two year old daughter together.

The couple released the following statement: "we have separated and have been for some time. We do however continue as great friends with the utmost respect for one another".

What are Implications of Spousal Support on a Short Term Marriage ?

In Ontario, the spouse seeking spousal support must establish an entitlement to the support before the quantum of support or the duration of support may be determined. There are three grounds on which the spouse seeking support may establish entitlement:

  1. Compensatory Claims
  2. Non-Compensatory Claims (needs based)
  3. Contractually Based Claims

A compensatory claim stems from an economic benefit experienced by one spouse and a corresponding loss to the other spouse as a result of the role the parties played during the marriage. To explain, if one party stayed home to care for the children so that the other was able to advance his/her career, the spouse who stayed home with the children would like successfully establish entitlement for support based on a compensatory claim.

A non-compensatory claim, or a needs based claim, is a claim that can be made by one spouse to help cover his/her basic needs or to maintain a certain standard of living such that it is commensurate with the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage.

A contractual based claim is one that is rooted in a contract or agreement between the spouses, such as a marriage contract.

As per the above, a spouse seeking spousal support following the breakdown of a short term marriage must establish entitlement to same.

In a short-term marriage where the couple has no children, it will likely be difficult for the spouse seeking support to establish entitlement. That is, the short term nature of the marriage will likely make it difficult for the spouse seeking support to be successful in establish compensatory entitlement due to the short amount of time that the couple resided together. Moreover, if there is any disparity in the income of the two spouses that existed at the start of cohabitation, then the disparity can easily be explained as not being a result of the relationship or marriage. To this end, entitlement may be difficult to establish.

Where a short-term marriage ends where the couple has children, the spouse seeking support must still establish entitlement. Notably however, if a recipient spouse is successful in establishing an entitlement to support, the payor spouse is also paying child such, and as such, a different formula for the calculation of spousal support must be applied. This can result in a different determination for the period of time in which spousal support is payable. Although the length of the period of cohabitation is still relevant, we must also consider the age of the youngest child at the time of separation. That is, in certain circumstances, spousal support may be payable until the youngest child either enters full time school or completes high school.

Notably, this formula, often referred to as the "with child" formula will result in spousal support being paid for a period of time much longer than the length of your relationship or marriage. The rationale supporting this alternative formula is that the parent of a young child may suffer some difficulty in the job market from having the responsibilities of caring for that young child, such as getting that child to and from daycare.