Spousal Support


During a separation, you must determine whether there is an entitlement to support and how much that support should be. Unlike child support, which is automatic and cannot be waived on behalf of a child, spousal support is not mandatory.

Spousal support can be a very emotional, divisive topic. Attempts to find fair resolutions can become bogged down by disputes about why one spouse has a lower income, and how long it should take that spouse to become independent.


Negotiating Fair and Reasonable Spousal Support in Toronto and North York


Our Toronto spousal support lawyers can help you minimize hostility and work toward a reasonable resolution. We will help you decide:

  • Entitlement of the lower-earning spouse: Deciding this involves taking into account age, employment history before and after marriage, role during the marriage, and current and future prospects. A short marriage, in which the lower-income spouse continued to work and suffered no loss of income to care for the house or children, will be very different from a long-term marriage in which a spouse abandoned a lucrative career in order to raise the children of the marriage.
  • Amount of spousal support: The longer a couple has been together, the more it is assumed that the higher-earning spouse should share income with the lower-earning spouse to bring him or her to the same level.
  • Duration of support: With the exception of long-term relationships of 20 years or more, spousal support is assumed to be a temporary measure to help the lower-earning spouse get back on his or her feet.
  • Method of payment: Some couples prefer regular payments; others prefer a lump-sum.

To help begin the discussion, the federal government publishes Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG), which take into account the length of the marriage and relative incomes of each spouse and provide a range of acceptable support. Couples generally stay within the range unless there is a significant reason to depart from it such as extraordinary income, very high net worth, health issues or prenuptial contracts.

As the separation continues, there may be changes in income, living arrangements, needs and marital status. These may require a modification or spousal support variation.

We can help you find a resolution that will help your family move on.

if you are going through family issues or a relationship breakdown in the Greater Toronto Area, contact the laywers at MacDonald & Partners LLP and come into our office, in downtown Toronto and North York.