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Determining Spousal Support In Alberta

When a marriage or common-law relationship ends, questions surrounding the issue of spousal support often arise.

How Is Entitlement To Spousal Support Determined?

The Divorce Act of Canada and the Family Act of Alberta set out the objectives of spousal support. Whether the court awards support or not depends on a variety of factors that are based on those objectives. Such factors include:

  • How long the parties were married
  • The incomes and assets of the spouses
  • Whether there are children and who has the care of the children
  • If there was an agreement or an arrangement made between the spouses about spousal support

Are Only Married Individuals Eligible For Spousal Support?

Unmarried individuals may be entitled to spousal support if they were in an Adult Interdependent Relationship. The Alberta Family Law Act sets out the eligibility requirements.

In order to be eligible under the rules, an individual must:

  • Have been in the relationship for at least three years, or
  • Have been in the relationship for less than three years, but had an Adult Interdependent Partnership agreement, or
  • Have had a child together, even though the relationship lasted less than three years

How Is The Amount Of Spousal Support Determined?

The court looks at the factual circumstances of the couple. Based on those particulars, the judge determines whether one of the spouses is eligible.

If it is determined a spouse is eligible, then it is the judge who will determine the amount of support. The judge will make his determination based on the couple's situation, the objectives of the respective Acts, as well as the federal Spousal Support Guidelines.

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