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How to guard against an unfair spousal support arrangement

One aspect of divorce that many people don’t plan for is the possibility of having to leave the matrimonial home before the divorce is finalized. The uncertainty of not being in the home can affect every aspect of the divorce proceedings, including the amount and duration of spousal support. In some cases, the party that moves out of the matrimonial home experiences financial pressure to agree to an unfair spousal support arrangement.

A variety of complex factors must be considered when deciding the amount and duration of spousal support. Those factors include the following:

  • Each spouse’s age
  • Each spouse’s financial situation
  • How long the relationship lasted
  • Whether or not children are involved
  • The role each spouse played during the marriage

Since 2008, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines have been used by Ontario judges and lawyers to establish the terms of spousal support agreements. Keep in mind, though, that the spousal support guidelines, unlike child support guidelines, are only recommendations and not legal statutes. In other words, a fair spousal support payment is not always a foregone conclusion.

While judges in Ontario tend to use the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, it is nonetheless important to seek help from a lawyer to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. A comprehensive approach is needed to ensure a fair divorce settlement. In many cases, early legal intervention is necessary to keep an individual in a position of strength, rather than a compromised position that could make the individual vulnerable to an unfair settlement. has more on staying in the family home while negotiating fair spousal support.

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