Unlike child support, there is no automatic right to receive spousal support. The experienced family law lawyers at MDW Law in Halifax will consider the unique factors of your situation. When there is a difference in income between separated spouses, one spouse may need to provide the other spouse with spousal support, either short-term or long-term.
An individual seeking spousal support must first establish that he or she is entitled to support before determining how much support may be paid and for how long. There are two main ways a spouse can establish entitlement. In many cases, a spouse may be entitled to receive spousal support for both reasons:
- By showing that he or she became economically dependent on the other spouse during the relationship (non-compensatory support); and/or
- By showing that he or she took on roles or made choices during the marriage that had a financial impact, such as leaving the workforce to raise children, working part-time, or foregoing promotions (compensatory support).
The following are some of the factors considered during determination of spousal support:
- Length of relationship: The longer the relationship, the more likely spousal support will be paid.
- Difference in incomes: A large difference in incomes is sometimes enough to establish entitlement.
- Roles assumed during the relationship: If one spouse has suffered a financial disadvantage because of the role assumed, such as being a stay at home parent, then a claim for compensatory support is more likely.
- Dependence: A spouse who is unable to work due to sickness or disability may be entitled to support.
- Age: Older individuals may find it harder to enter the workforce or retrain and may be entitled to support for this reason.
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) set out appropriate ranges of support in a variety of circumstances. Although the SSAGs are not binding law, they are often considered by Nova Scotia courts in quantifying spousal support and by lawyers in negotiating appropriate spousal support.
Spousal support is unique to each case. Our family law lawyers have years of experience and are skilled in making recommendations and assessments on whether spousal support should be paid and, if so, how much and for how long. Please contact us at our Halifax or Bedford office to find out how we can help you.