Spousal Support

Spousal support can be awarded under the federal Divorce Act or the B.C. Family Law Act.

The Divorce Act applies only to legally married spouses and contains no time limitation for a spousal support application. However, the spouse bringing an application under the Divorce Act must have lived in the province in which the application is brought for at least 1 year.

The Family Law Act provisions regarding spousal support apply to both common law spouses and legally married spouses. An application for spousal support by a common law spouse under the Family Law Act must be started within 2 years of separation. A legally married spouse must bring an application for spousal support under the Family Law Act within 2 years of the order of divorce or annulment.

Unlike child support, entitlement to spousal support must be established. To determine if one spouse is entitled to spousal support the various objectives of spousal support must be taken into consideration. The conduct of the spouses during the relationship and the reasons why the relationship ended will not be considered when determining spousal support entitlement.

If entitlement to spousal support is established the amount and duration of the spousal support will vary based on the means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse in addition to the length of time the spouses lived together and the functions performed by each spouse during the time they lived together. There are federal spousal support guidelines which provide ranges of amounts and durations. These guidelines are not mandatory but are often used by the Courts in British Columbia.

Under both the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act, child support orders must be given priority over spousal support orders.

To arrange a free initial telephone consultation to obtain additional information about spousal support or to arrange a meeting with a lawyer to obtain legal advice on your particular circumstances please contact us at (604) 523-7090 or email booth@cassadylaw.com