Retroactive Spousal Support Protecting Your Family's Interests for Over 25 Years

Retroactive Spousal Support

Ontario Spousal Support Information

Under the Divorce Act (s. 17(1)) and the Family Law Act (s. 37(2)), a court may make an order to vary, rescind, or suspend an existing spousal support order either prospectively (creating future obligations) or retroactively, in light of an unfulfilled past obligation. While there is no formal obligation to pay spousal support without an order or agreement in place, a court may impose an obligation as far back as the date of separation, should an entitlement to spousal support be established by the recipient.

For the purposes of spousal support, the term “spouse” refers to married, cohabiting and former spouses (Divorce Act ss. 2(1), 15), (Family Law Act ss. 1(1), 29).

In general, a successful spousal support claim may be ordered retroactive to the date of the first request. An exception to the general rule is where there is “blameworthy” conduct on the part of the payor, at which point the court may order support to commence at the point in time when the conduct began. For example, if a payor disclosed income that was substantially less than their actual income, a recipient spouse may have a claim for retroactive spousal support to the date of disclosure.

The legislation surrounding retroactive spousal support entitlement has been interpreted by the courts. In DBS v. SRG, the Supreme Court listed the criteria for establishing a retroactive support entitlement. (Although this case deals with a retroactive child support claim, the criteria have also been deemed applicable to retroactive spousal support claims.)

The court held that retroactivity is to be considered in a holistic way, but must include the consideration of the following four factors:

  • The reason why support was not sought earlier;
  • The conduct of the payor parent;
  • The circumstances (both past and current) of the [recipient]; and
  • Potential hardship on the payor flowing from a retroactive award.

What Is Blameworthy Conduct?

In DBS v. SRG, the court describes blameworthy conduct as “anything that privileges the payor parent’s own interests over his/her children’s right to an appropriate amount of support.” (Again, this evaluation is applicable in retroactive spousal support matters.) The court notes examples of blameworthy conduct to include actions such as intentionally hiding financial assets, intimidating the recipient, and misleading the recipient.

Serving all of Ontario from offices in Mississauga, Oakville, Vaughan, and Markham, Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. is committed to providing the counsel, guidance, advice, or other legal services you need in relation to your spousal support matter. We help families in such communities as Aurora, Newmarket, King City, and the entire York Region, as well as in Maple, Kleinberg, Thornhill, Richmond Hill, Unionville, Woodbridge, and beyond.

Call (905) 581-7222 today to discover how an Ontario divorce lawyer can help.

Meet Our Dedicated Team of Lawyers

Over a Century of Collective Experience
  • Andrew  Feldstein Photo
  • Deleta  Grandy Photo
  • Jeff  Hart Photo
  • Daphna  Schwartz Photo
  • Nick  Slinko Photo
  • Anna  Troitschanski Photo
  • Veronica  Yeung Photo
  • Shana  Gordon-Katz Photo
  • Shazia  Hafiji Photo
  • Lucy  D'Ercole Photo
  • Joy  Pura Photo
  • Andrew  Feldstein Photo
    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.

  • Deleta  Grandy Photo
    Deleta Grandy

    Lawyer

    Deleta Grandy obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Legal Studies at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in 2012, where she graduated with Honours. She completed her legal studies at Western Law School, graduating with a Juris Doctor in 2016.

  • Jeff  Hart Photo
    Jeff Hart

    Lawyer

    Jeff obtained his Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Studies from McMaster University before attending law school at Queen’s.

  • Daphna  Schwartz Photo
    Daphna Schwartz

    Lawyer

    Location: Markham Daphna Schwartz joined Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2007 as an associate lawyer. She was previously ...
  • Nick  Slinko Photo
    Nick Slinko

    Lawyer

    Location: Vaughan Nick Slinko attended York University from 2003 until 2007 where he majored in both Law & Society and ...
  • Anna  Troitschanski Photo
    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.
  • Veronica  Yeung Photo
    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.

  • Shana  Gordon-Katz Photo
    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.

  • Shazia  Hafiji Photo
    Shazia Hafiji

    Lawyer

    Shazia Hafiji joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. as a summer student in 2016 and returned as an articling student in 2017. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in 2018, Shazia returned to the firm as an associate lawyer.

  • Lucy  D'Ercole Photo
    Lucy D'Ercole

    Lawyer

    Lucy D’Ercole joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. as a summer student in 2017 and returned as an articling student in 2018, during which she gained valuable experience in all areas of family law. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in 2019, Lucy was welcomed back to the firm as an associate lawyer.
  • Joy  Pura Photo
    Joy Pura

    Lawyer

    Joy Pura completed her legal studies and obtained a Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa. Prior to that, she completed ...
/

We're Committed to You

  • Convenient Meeting Locations

    Our team is able to meet with you and provide quality family law legal services in Markham, Oakville, Mississauga, Vaughan, and the surrounding areas.

  • Quick Response Times by Email & Phone

    This is one of the most difficult times in your life and our goal is to help make this transition as smooth as possible. To help put your mind at ease we ensure that our team is always available to guide you.

  • Free In-Office Consultations*

    We understand you have questions and need guidance on your next step. We make getting these questions answered as easy as possible. We offer free consultation* for our new clients.

  • 25 Years of Experience

    Experience Matters. Our founding attorney has over 25 years of experience in the legal field. As a firm you get over a century of dedicated legal experience advocating for your family's best interests. 

Take the First Step

Fill out the form below to begin your free in-office consultation with one of our experienced lawyers or call us at 905-581-7222.
  • Please enter your first name.
  • Please enter your last name.
  • Please enter your phone number.
    This isn't a valid phone number.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.