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What is the difference between alimony and spousal support?

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Conceptually, the terms “spousal support”, “alimony” and “spousal maintenance” are all equivalent.  If you and your ex have divorced or are separated, it represents money that one of you may legally owe the other as financial support, after the breakdown of the relationship.  It is usually paid on a monthly basis.

However, only the term “spousal support” is used in Canadian legal parlance – as reflected in the federal Divorce Act and the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines.  The terms “alimony” and “maintenance” are the analogous terms used in U.S.-based family law.

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