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Family Law - Support Obligations During Involuntary Separation

The judge was satisfied that even if proof of separation was required under the Parenting and Support Act to apply for support, separation could be for reasons outside the spouses’ control including separation by necessity when neither party intended to end the spousal relationship.

Kay Rhodenizer – January 2019

As “the Boomers” age, involuntary separations for health reasons are increasing.  A new 2018 case in the Nova Scotia Family Court has confirmed that under the Parenting and Support Act, Nova Scotia spouses in this situation may have spousal support claims:  M.P. v. G.M., 2018 NSFC 13 (CanLII).

In this case, both spouses were in different long-term care facilities.  The husband had the greater income and the wife was allowed to make a support claim.  When authorizing the claim to go forward, the judge considered several differences between the Parenting and Support Act and the Divorce Act, noting that only the Divorce Act required proof of intent to end a marital relationship by separation before support can be claimed.  The judge was satisfied that even if proof of separation was required under the Parenting and Support Act to apply for support, separation could be for reasons outside the spouses’ control including separation by necessity when neither party intended to end the spousal relationship.

Although the outcome of the wife’s subsequent application for support has not yet been publicly reported, presumably in that application a judge would then look at the respective needs of each spouse and the ability of one to pay support to the other, as required by the Parenting and Support Act.

This blog is not intended to be a comprehensive treatment of this topic or legal advice. Every case turns on its specific facts so if you or a family member require spousal support in this type of situation our MDW Law lawyers can assist you in determining what a judge might do in these particular circumstances.

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Tuesday, January 12th, 2021

Published by: Tara Miller, Q.C.

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