Spousal Support: What Are Its Calculation Guidelines?
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Spousal Support: What Are Its Calculation Guidelines?

Paying your ex-spouse money is typically a big cause of tension for divorced couples, and for good reason. This is true regardless of what you name it: spousal support, partner support, or alimony.

Some ex-partners believe they are automatically entitled to monthly payments of a substantial sum, in contrast to their counterparts, while others believe their ex-partners are being paid for doing nothing. But getting support is not always simple.

This article explains the legal ideas that define when assistance is needed and how it is calculated, plus where you can find a spousal support lawyer in Abbotsford. 

How Is Spousal Support Calculated?

Just like when unmarried partners split up, the issue of spousal support is still relevant when married couples get divorced. 

Despite the nomenclature variations, the fundamental notion and principles remain the same. We use the term “spousal support” to refer to all types of spousal and partner assistance for simplicity.


Before receiving spousal support, a former spouse must prove their claim to maintenance. The Canadian Supreme Court has recognized three different spousal support rights:

When one spouse is assigned to receive a written agreement, this is known as contractual support (such as a prenuptial, cohabitation, separation, etc.). You may be obligated to pay due to your contractual obligations if this is the case.

Compensatory Support 

This is typically given when one spouse has missed out on opportunities for a career, education, or money as a result of their engagement in the marriage. 

The idea behind this is that one spouse shouldn’t be forced to bear an unjust financial burden due to their involvement in the marriage.

Non-compensatory Support

This is typically needed when one spouse experiences extreme financial difficulty as a result of the breakdown of the marriage. The idea is that if a marriage ends and one person becomes independent, their standard of living shouldn’t be severely diminished.


If a former spouse can show a right to support on one of the grounds above, the next step is determining the quantum or amount payable. 

The most popular method for calculating spousal support based on the income of each former spouse is to refer to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. The Court, however, has discretion and is not obligated to abide by these rules. 

Depending on a person’s income, it must be determined whether support should be at the low, middle, or high end of the range set by the guidelines. 

Numerous factors must be considered while determining quantum. We typically consider the disparity in income, the roles each ex-spouse played throughout the marriage, their earning potential, their attempts to become independent, and any other mitigating circumstances, such as their health.


The final consideration, after determining eligibility and quantity, is duration. The question “How long do I have to pay” is the one that shows up most frequently. 

The length of the link typically influences the longevity of the support. The average lifespan of a short-term relationship (less than 20 years) is 0.5 to 1.0 times that of the years it lasted. For instance, a 10-year relationship may require 5–10 years of support payments.

A long-term relationship (more than 20 years) typically has an indefinite term that can be reconsidered when particular conditions occur (i.e., the former spouse receiving support remarries).

But Do I Have To Pay Back My Ex-Spouse?

Spousal support is not legally required, in contrast to child support. Negotiating spousal support is therefore acceptable and even recommended, especially where there is shared property. 

Additionally, spousal support may be provided in a single amount if there is enough equity, eliminating the requirement for regular monthly payments. However, the payer’s monthly help is tax deductible, unlike lump sum aid. 

In other words, taxes have a significant role. A lawyer can help you comprehend the terms of any spousal support you or your ex-spouse may be entitled to receive and your eligibility for it. Support for a spouse may be challenging and confusing. Contact a knowledgeable spousal support lawyer in Calgary or Vancouver, and give them a call.


Spousal support and separation agreements in Abbotsford are complex and often contentious issues in Canadian family law. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to whether or not spousal support should be paid or how much should be paid. A court decides whether or not to provide spousal support and how much to award in each instance, taking into account the particulars of the relationship and the parties involved.

We at Pathfinder Law offer a comprehensive range of legal services to clients in Abbotsford and the rest of British Columbia, including civil litigation, family law, builder’s liens, employment law, wills and estates, and business law services. Contact us if you need a spousal support lawyer in Abbotsford!

Disclaimer – The information contained herein is of a general nature. It is not intended to be legal advice and it is not intended to address the exact circumstances of any particular individual or entity. You should not rely on or act upon such information without receiving appropriate professional advice and without a thorough examination of your particular situation.