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Are you eligible for spousal support?

When you realized your marriage was coming to an end, you may have had many concerns, especially if you have children. One important consideration is your financial future and making ends meet, at least for the first few years after the divorce. If you have been out of the workforce for some time, for example to raise children, or if you have depended on your spouse's higher salary throughout your marriage, the changes a divorce brings to your finances can be devastating.

For this reason, you may seek spousal support as part of your divorce. The laws attempt to treat each divorce as fairly as possible, so you may have an idea of what to expect if you are seeking spousal support. However, such support is not a given, which is why having legal counsel throughout the divorce process is an excellent idea.

Will I get spousal support?

For this reason, Alberta family courts examine several factors to determine if you may be eligible for spousal support, for example:

  • If the divorce will create a financial hardship for you
  • If your spouse earns considerably more money than you do
  • If you made financial sacrifices during the marriage, such as helping your spouse obtain a degree so he or she could earn more money
  • If child support will not fully cover what your children need, and you will be supplementing with your own income
  • If caring for the children will prevent you from working full time

Determining how much support you will receive and how long it will last depends on your unique circumstances. For example, the court will want to know how long you were married and how long it will take you to regain self-sufficiency, but the court will not be concerned with whose fault it is that the marriage ended in divorce.

The purpose of spousal support in most cases is to provide financial supplement temporarily while you work to make yourself financially independent. This can include going back to school, learning new skills or looking for a job that allows you to support yourself. Trying to do any of these things while struggling financially can lead to severe hardships. For this reason, you may find that the advice and advocacy of a legal professional can be a valuable resource for helping you reach your goals during your divorce.

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