The federal Divorce Act of Canada ensures that rules are set for couples who divorce. Since the law is of a federal nature, it applies to the whole country together.


The rules are applicable to unmarried couples who share a common law relationship or those couples who are separate but not divorced are provincial or territorial in nature.

According to the federal act the spouse with the higher income amount is liable to pay the money decided by the spousal support arrangement to the other one. The firms decide this only when there is a huge difference between the incomes of the two spouses. However this is not always the case. The court may take some other decision too if they see that the difference is not due to some event during the course of the relationship or if the spouse is the owner of a lot of assets.

Understanding the law

Laws differ from region to region. Like in Quebec the provincial laws do not require common law partners to pay the spousal support. In Quebec common law partners are often referred to as de-facto partners. However there are other places where common law partners are required nevertheless to pay the spousal support, but that depends upon the number of years they have stayed together. Like in some areas the provincial law requires the partners to have previously stayed together for more than two years in order to be eligible for paying spousal support.

Divorce laws vary throughout the country and it is advised that you check the website of your law firm to see which law is applicable in your province. Or you may also contact your lawyer.

There are several factors considered by the lawyer while he decides whether the spouse shall get any spousal support or not. These include the following-

  • The duration of the marriage
  • The caring of the children, if any
  • The financial needs and means of both the spouses
  • The role each spouse played during the marriage
  • The effect of these roles and the also the effect of the breakdown of the marriage on the financial status of the partners
  • The important goal of encouraging the receiver of the spousal support to be self-sufficient as soon as possible
  • Any kind of arrangement, agreement and order that has already been made about spousal support

The additional factors considered by judges on whether the requirements of spousal support are at all met or not are-

  • That of helping that partner who has a lower income
  • That of compensating him for sacrificing some power during the marriage to earn a decent income
  • Also that of shifting the child care to the parent who earns more between the two

While this goes on the judge should make it clear that the partner receiving the spousal support has an obligation to become self-sufficient as soon as possible. This is reasonable too.

Author’s Bio:

The author is a legal advisor in York region family lawyers. He specializes in cases of marital disputes.