Married or common law spouses may be obligated to pay or entitled to receive spousal support (commonly referred to as “alimony” in other jurisdictions) in the event of separation in some scenarios.
In determining whether spousal support is payable, a two-step analysis is undertaken. These two steps can be summarized in the following manner:
- Determining whether a spouse is entitled to receive support; and
- If entitled, determining the quantum (i.e. the amount) and duration of such support.
The objectives of spousal support, as set out in the Divorce Act, are:
- To recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to the spouses arising from the marriage or its breakdown;
- To apportion between the spouses any financial consequences arising from the care of any child of the marriage over and above any obligation for the support of any child of the marriage;
- To relieve any economic hardship of the spouses arising from the breakdown of the marriage; and
- To, in so far as practicable, promote the self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period of time.