A Guide to Spousal/Partner Support in Alberta

Understanding How Spousal/Partner Support is Handled in Alberta

No question about it, divorce and separation can be difficult. When it comes time to navigate the complexities of family law matters, things can become tricky quickly. The process can be mentally, financially, and emotionally taxing. Often, clients have legal questions about spousal support, which is sometimes called alimony. This area of divorce and separation can be particularly difficult to understand because there are so many variables to consider. For this reason, having a skilled family law lawyer on your side can be extremely helpful to navigate through a family law issue.

Whether you’re just starting the divorce process, leaving your partner, or going through a common-law separation, understanding how spousal/partner support works is important. In this guide, we will cover some of the most frequently asked questions about spousal support, alimony, financial obligations, , a legally-sound separation agreement and more. If the specific answers to your questions regarding your legal issue aren’t listed, we encourage you to contact our  law firm. We can provide tailored legal advice that applies to your unique situation.

What is Spousal Support?

Spousal support, sometimes also called alimony, is a type of financial support that is provided from one former spouse or partner to the other spouse or partner once an Adult Independent Relationship or marriage has come to an end.

Since married couples and adult partners usually operate as a team earning income together and managing a household, certain financial advantages can be enjoyed. However, when couples separate or get a divorce, one adult individual may be at a significant financial disadvantage position.

This disadvantaged partner may have certain financial obligations that they can no longer meet. In this case, they may request spousal support payments from the other partner. The partner that earns more may then have financial obligations toward the financially disadvantaged partner. As such, the financial sport will be provided by the person who earns more income.

Spousal support payments revolve around three main factors. These are the entitlement of the disadvantaged spouse, payment amount required, and duration of financial assistance. Entitlement has to do with who should be allowed to receive spousal support. The amount will be determined by the income of both partners. The duration, or amount of time that payments will be needed, then must be determined.

Who will be entitled to spousal support in Alberta?

In Alberta, the court will decide whether or not one spouse is entitled to support. Several factors will be considered as the judge evaluates a spousal support request. There is no sure-fire way to determine whether a judge will approve spousal support payments. For this reason, it is important to hire an experienced family lawyer that is familiar with spousal support cases in Alberta. Our family law firm has a team of professionals with experience in this area as well as drafting spousal support agreements.

How is spousal support calculated in Alberta?

In Alberta, spousal support is determined based on many factors. The amount of spousal support that may be awarded from one spouse/partner to the other can vary based on many factors. Additionally, spousal support is usually handled on a case-by-case basis. With this in mind, a few factors that may be used to determine spousal support payments include:

  • The financial means of both spouses or partners
  • The financial needs of both spouses or partners
  • The length of the marriage or common-law relationship
  • The roles of each spouse or partner during the marriage or relationship
  • The breakdown of marriage or relationship roles and how they impact current financial positions
  • The care of children involved in the relationship
  • Goals of self-sufficiency for the financially disadvantaged spouse or partner
  • Abuse of a partner or family violence
  • Orders, arrangements, and agreements that were previously made about spousal or partner support

For example, if one spouse worked full-time to support the other spouse while they went to college, this would likely be considered in court. Alternatively, if one spouse left a career to stay at home and care for children, that person may now need financial assistance.

In general, the wider the income gap between spouses or partners is, the more likely it will be that the higher-earning person will have to pay spousal support.

How long can someone get spousal support in Alberta?

The period of time that spousal support payments will be needed correlates to how long the partners cohabitated in the relationship. It will also depend on how long it takes for the financially disadvantaged partner to become self-sufficient.

Once again, every case is different. Parenting time and financial obligations in a common-law relationship may also impact spousal payment timelines. A skilled family law attorney at Chahal Raj Law will provide specific advice on payment durations.

Are parties in common law subject to spousal support?

In Alberta, common-law relationships are referred to as Adult Independent Partnerships. Adult Interdependent Partners are usually eligible for spousal support and have rights just like married couples. To learn more, contact a family law lawyer at Chahal Raj Law.

Defining Adult Interdependent Relationships

Adult Independent Relationships are also known as common-law relationships. In Alberta, the legal term for a common-law relationship is Adult Interdependent Partnership.

Get Legal Advice on Spousal or Partner Support Payments in Alberta

Contact our offices today if you have been seeking a skilled family law attorney in Edmonton. We offer dependable legal advice on divorce, spousal support, common-law Adult Independent Partnerships, and more. Our team can assist you with understanding the process of spousal support no matter what stage your relationship is at. To find out how we can assist you, call today.

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Contact our law office to schedule an initial consultation to get experienced legal help with Spousal & Partner Support legal services.

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