Family law: Can spousal support only be ordered by court?

When an Ontario couple decides to end their marriage or common-law relationship, both parties may have questions about spousal support. One may want to keep the amount as low as possible, while the other spouse may want it to be as high as possible. However, there are no set rules about spousal report awards, and each case is handled separately by the family law court.
The Divorce Act is a federal law and governs couples across Canada. Although spousal support under this federal act only affects married couples, each province and territory has its own laws about spousal support. In Ontario, the court treats spousal support for common-law spouses similarly to married spouses. However, the parties must meet certain requirements related to the length of their common-law relationship and whether they have children together.

A spouse can get spousal support as a method of income sharing, and although it is often rewarded to one party who earns significantly less than the other, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. Couples are free to negotiate an amount of support that will be fair and affordable, and, if it is a mutual agreement, the court will authorize it. Couples who cannot agree will have to abide by the court’s decision based on specific calculations.
Sometimes, couples may struggle to come to agreements, and that is when many Ontario people choose to seek the assistance of an experienced family law lawyer. Such a professional can assist with negotiations or even arrange for a trained divorce mediator to facilitate negotiations. However, this may not work for all, and when break-ups are highly contentious, a skilled lawyer can provide the necessary support through litigation. Source: FindLaw Canada, “Spousal support“, Miriam Yosowich, Accessed on Jan. 13, 2017

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *