Are Alimony and Spousal Support the Same Thing?

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Are Alimony and Spousal Support the Same Thing?

Alimony and Spousal Support
Divorce is an extremely complicated legal process, even when it’s relatively simple. The entire process of ending your marriage can be confusing, full of terms you have never heard and may not understand.

While doing your initial research about whether you will have to pay or be able to receive financial support from your soon-to-be ex, you may have come across terms like spousal support, alimony, or maintenance. The fact that all these terms get thrown around in this context can be confusing, but we have some good news: they all refer to payments made by one ex-spouse to the other for the purposes of financial support.

How is Spousal Support Determined in Ontario?

In Ontario, the term used by courts is typically “spousal support,” but you may hear it referred to as alimony or maintenance by judges and lawyers. Ontario law views a marriage as an economic partnership and, in some cases, a court will order the higher-earning spouse to make payments to the other spouse for a period of time while he or she is able to achieve self-sufficiency.

The government provides judges with spousal support guidelines in order to ensure some level of predictability and consistency in spousal support determinations. That said, the guidelines are not legally binding, and judges have the ability to deviate from them if they feel it is justified. There are a number of factors that can play a role in how much support a judge will order, including:

  • The difference in income between the spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age of the parties
  • The roles each party had during the marriage
  • Whether the couple has children

Who is Entitled to Spousal Support?

It’s important to first note that spousal support is not awarded in every divorce, and the party seeking support must prove to the court that he or she is entitled to it. Whether spousal support will be awarded in a particular case depends on a number of factors, including:

  • The age of the parties at the time of the divorce
  • The length of the relationship
  • Whether one spouse is able to support the other
  • Whether the spouse seeking support can become self-sufficient

Do you Need a Lawyer to Obtain or Fight Spousal Support?

Many people who are involved in a support dispute wonder whether they need a lawyer to protect their rights, especially in light of the fact that courts often defer to the support guidelines when making determinations. The fact is that judges have significant discretion regarding spousal support awards, and whether you are seeking support or trying to minimize it, it’s in your best interest to retain a lawyer familiar with practicing divorce law in Ontario courts.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Mississauga Divorce Lawyer

If you are getting divorced and have questions or concerns about spousal support, you should call Nanda & Associate Lawyers today. Our experienced family law and divorce lawyers are here to help you protect your rights. We speak 15 different languages: English, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bangla, Chinese, Italian, Telugu, and Tamil. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family lawyers, including Jagmohan Singh Nanda, Glen Cook, Linda Starova, or Amal Nayyar, call our office or contact us online.