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Will I receive spousal support if I get divorced?

One common fear people have when they divorce is whether they will be able to support themselves. This can be especially worrisome for people who are financially dependent on their spouse. If you are in this situation, you might not know where you will live or how you will pay your bills.

However, remember that there are legal measures in place that can make it easier to transition out of marriage financially. One possible solution is to request spousal support.

Understanding spousal support

Spousal support orders require one person to pay another support indefinitely or for a specific amount of time after divorce. In accordance with Canadian legislation, courts can order lump-sum payments or periodic payments, depending on what they deem reasonable.

However, not every person is eligible for spousal support. Generally, it is reserved for situations in which one person will be at a significant financial disadvantage after a divorce. That said, the courts will consider a number of factors when assessing a request for support. These factors include:

  • The length of the marriage or cohabitation
  • The marital roles of and contributions by each person
  • The degree of economic hardship a disadvantaged party would experience as a result of the divorce
  • The financial portfolios of each party
  • Whether there is a valid prenuptial agreement in place that addresses spousal support

Based on these and other factors, the courts will determine whether a person is entitled to spousal support. They will also determine payment amounts and for how long they will continue.

Battling misconceptions

Many people have misconceptions about spousal support. It is important that you not let these misunderstandings cloud your judgment if you are assessing your legal options regarding support.

Again, remember that not everyone is entitled to spousal support. Also, understand that there is a process in place to determine what is reasonable, in terms of payment amounts.

Additionally, you should not assume that just because someone in a similar situation secured a specific outcome, you will receive the same outcome. Every case is different and warrants legal examination and guidance.

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