Ontario Spousal Support Lawyers
Financial Support for Separating or Divorcing Spouses in Toronto and the Surrounding Areas
Section 33 of the Family Law Act (FLA) and Section 15 of the Divorce Act (DA) give the court the authority to order a person to provide support for his or her dependents and determine the amount of spousal support in Ontario, Canada.
Only individuals who are married may apply for spousal support under the DA. Individuals who are both married and common law may apply for spousal support under the FLA.
What is Considered a Spouse?
Even if you are not married, you can be defined as a “spouse” under s. 29 of the FLA for the purposes of spousal support. According to s. 29 of the FLA, spouses include:
- Two persons who are married to each other;
- Two persons who have entered into a marriage that is voidable or void, in good faith on the part of the person relying on the clause to assert any right;
- Two persons who are not married to each other and have cohabited continuously for a period of not less than three years; or
- Two persons who are not married to each other and have cohabited in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.
How Does the Court Determine Spousal Support in Ontario?
Provided that an individual fits into one of the categories of spouse defined in the FLA, he or she may be eligible for spousal support.
The following factors are taken into consideration when determining the duration and quantity of spousal support, under s.33 (9) of the FLA:
- The dependent’s and respondent’s current assets and means;
- The assets and means the dependent and the respondent are likely to have in the future;
- The dependent’s capacity to contribute to his or her own support; and
- The respondent’s capacity to provide spousal support.
Similar factors are considered under s. 15.2(4) of the DA. These include:
- The means of each spouse;
- The needs and other circumstances of each spouse;
- The length of time the spouses cohabited;
- The functions performed by each spouse during cohabitation; and
- Any order, agreement or arrangement relating to support of either spouse.
Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines
It is common practice to calculate spousal support based on the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG). SSAG is not based on mandatory or legislated guidelines. Basically, the lawyer inputs the parties’ salaries and all relevant information such as duration of the marriage, age of the parties, which individual has custody of the children, and age of the children to arrive at figures indicating how much spousal support should be paid. The Court will look at the calculations and decide what is applicable and fair.
It is in our experience that judges will first apply the law regarding spousal support and use the SSAG to determine that this calculation makes sense. However, judges are not required to follow SSAG and there is room for discretion.
Understanding the Importance of Spousal Support
Spousal support is a crucial aspect of divorce or separation proceedings. It is designed to provide financial assistance to a spouse who may have been economically disadvantaged during the marriage or who may require support to maintain a certain standard of living post-divorce. Our experienced Ontario spousal support lawyers can guide you through the complexities of spousal support laws and help you understand your rights and obligations.
Key points to consider about spousal support include:
- Factors that influence the determination of spousal support
- Calculating the amount and duration of spousal support payments
- Options for negotiating spousal support agreements
- Enforcing or modifying existing spousal support orders
Whether you are seeking spousal support or are being asked to pay spousal support, it is essential to have knowledgeable legal representation to protect your interests. Contact our Ontario law firm today for personalized guidance on spousal support matters.
Spousal Misconduct & Spousal Support
In Ontario, the obligation to provide spousal support exists without regard to the conduct of either spouse, but the court may, in determining the amount of support, have regard to a course of conduct that is so unconscionable as to constitute a gross repudiation of the relationship (s. 33(10)) of the FLA. A repudiation of the relationship is a test with a very high threshold; therefore, the conduct of each spouse is generally not considered when determining spousal support. Spousal misconduct is not considered under the DA when making an order or interim order for spousal support (s. 15.2(5)).
Learn more about spousal support and your rights or obligations. Call (905) 581-7222 today for a consultation!
Andrew Feldstein Founder
Andrew Feldstein graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1992. Prior to focusing exclusively on family law, Andrew’s legal practice covered many different areas, including corporate commercial. One of Andrew’s fundamental objectives is to achieve those goals mutually and collaboratively, as set out by him and his client.
Daphna Schwartz Lawyer
Daphna Schwartz joined Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2007 as an associate lawyer. She was previously practising family law in the Barrie area. Her practice includes all areas of divorce and family law, including custody and access, child support, spousal support, and property issues. Daphna is also qualified to practise Collaborative Family Law.
Anna Troitschanski Lawyer
Anna Troitschanski joined the team at Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2012. Prior to that, she practised Family Law at a boutique Newmarket firm. Her experience covers all areas of divorce and family law, including custody and access, child support, spousal support, and division of property.
Nick Slinko Lawyer
Nick Slinko attended York University from 2003 until 2007 where he majored in both Law & Society and Philosophy. Nick graduated in 2007 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. He proceeded to earn a Juris Doctor in Law at the University of Western Ontario in 2011. Nick was Called to the Bar in June of 2012 after completing his Articling term with the Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. He became an associate with the firm immediately thereafter.
Veronica Yeung Lawyer
Veronica Yeung joined the Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. as a summer student in 2014 and returned as an articling student in 2015. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2016, Veronica was welcomed to the team as an associate lawyer.
Veronica attended York University for her undergraduate studies and graduated as a member of the Dean’s Honour Roll when she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Honours Criminology.
Shana Gordon-Katz Lawyer
Shana joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. as an articling student in 2017. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2018, Shana was welcomed back to the firm as an associate. While completing her articles, Shana assisted with legal matters covering all areas of family law.
Shana attended the University of Western Ontario for her undergraduate studies, where she graduated as the gold medalist of her program, Honors Specialization in Classical Studies.
Rachel Zweig Lawyer
Rachel joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C as a Summer Student in 2019 and returned as an Articling Student in 2020-2021. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in April 2021, Rachel was welcomed back to the firm as an Associate.
Prior to completing her legal studies and obtaining her Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa, Rachel obtained her Bachelor’s Degree at Ryerson University with a major in English Literature.
Lauren Harvey Associate Lawyer
Lauren joined Feldstein Family Law Group as a Summer Student in 2020 and returned as an Articling Student in 2021-2022. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in April 2022, Lauren was welcomed back to the firm as an Associate.
Prior to completing her legal studies and obtaining her Juris Doctor at the University of Western Ontario, Lauren obtained her Honour’s Bachelor of Arts Degree at Wilfrid Laurier University majoring in Criminology and minoring in Law and Society.
Quinn Held Associate Lawyer
Quinn spent two years as a Summer Student and then completed her Articling term at a boutique Family Law firm in Orangeville, where she was exposed to various complex Family Law matters. Following her Call to the Bar of Ontario in June 2022, she became an Associate with the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Prior to obtaining her Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor, Quinn obtained her Honour’s Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Guelph majoring in Criminal Justice and Public Policy and minoring in International Development.