“Every spouse has an obligation to provide support for himself or herself and for the other spouse, in accordance with need, to the extent that he or she is capable of doing so.”
Source: Family Law Act Part III s30
While spouses are expected to provide support for themselves, it might be that one partner has more income and assets and may have to pay support to the other. The question becomes one of entitlement. When is someone entitled to receive support?
The Divorce Act sets out certain factors and objectives that a judge must consider when deciding whether a spouse is entitled to support when they divorce. Some factors include the financial needs and means, length of marriage, self-sufficiency and time to become self-sufficient.
Source: Dept. of Justice6
The “Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines” are used to help parties discuss the spousal support amounts and duration. (Note: Spousal Support Guidelines are different from Child Support Guidelines, which the court is required to follow.)
Source: Ministry of Attorney General3
The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines available at http://www.justice.gc.ca help couples with the discussion around the factors to calculate spousal support and reach agreement.