Under Ontario family law, a marriage is viewed as a financial partnership, with each partner having a legal obligation to support the other if necessary, in the event that the relationship breaks down.
Determining the amount, duration and type of spousal support that one spouse may owe the other can be a complicated exercise, since it hinges upon numerous factors such as the means and needs of each spouse, the ability of the paying spouse to afford support, and the employment and self-sufficiency prospects of the recipient spouse. There is no mathematical formula.
Still, in this province and across the country, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (or “SSAG”) have been designed to be a tool used by spouses, their lawyers, and judges to determine a starting-point for discussion on how much support should be paid, and for how long. Unlike the federal Child Support Guidelines (which are mandatory), the SSAG are advisory only. This means that they are not binding on the parties.
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Nonetheless – and despite their non-mandatory nature – the SSAG represent a fair starting point, in that they incorporate an amalgam of factors and generally-accepted legal principles and policies.
A copy of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines is located here.
Shulman Law Firm is a Toronto-area firm of experienced Family Lawyers who can provide tailored, practical advice and effective representation in connection with separation and divorce, child custody and support, cohabitation and separation agreements, family mediation, and all other areas of Ontario Family Law. Contact us to set up a consultation.