If you lived with your partner for at least three years or share children, you might be entitled to spousal support upon separation. Common-law couples (partners living together but never marrying) don’t face as many complications as married couples. Separating doesn’t require pursuing legal action and following a formal process.
However, if you have jointly owned assets, share children, or depend on your partner for financial support, the process of breaking up can be challenging. You could benefit from hiring an experienced lawyer to draft a separation agreement. Since common-law partners don’t have the same legal rights as married couples, you could face issues while pursuing alimony from your ex.
Spousal Support in Ontario
In Ontario, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines provide ranges the courts can use to determine alimony payments one party should provide to the other. Although the guidelines aren’t law, many judges will consider the recommended ranges when issuing court-ordered spousal support. Many lawyers will also turn to the guidelines to help clients draft alimony agreements.
Typically, Ontario law bases the determination of alimony on two formulas – With Child Support and Without Child Support. Each formula considers whether the person providing spousal support will also be responsible for paying child support.
If the payor isn’t required to provide child support payments to their ex, determining alimony depends mainly on the duration of the relationship. The longer the marriage, the higher the payments and amount of time they last.
Couples who share children are subject to the With Child Support formula. Under these circumstances, the court considers the children’s financial future first then determines whether alimony is necessary.
Can I Receive Alimony if We Were Not Married?
Even if you and your partner weren’t married, one of you could pursue a spousal support case. Part 3 of the Family Law Act applies to married couples and common-law couples.
Alimony is allowed if:
- The couple resided together for at least three years; or
- The couple cohabitated with some degree of permanence in a relationship and shared adoptive or natural children.
The amount and duration of spousal support for common-law couples are calculated using the same formulas used for married couples. However, it can be challenging to determine whether two people lived together for three or more years.
Maybe one person traveled often for work, or each partner retained a separate residence during the relationship. As long as you and your partner considered yourselves spouses and demonstrated a long-term commitment to each other, you could have cohabitated according to the legal requirements.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
Since the law regarding spousal support is confusing, it’s a good idea to seek legal representation. The process of pursuing this type of case might seem straightforward, but you could encounter obstacles along the way. If you don’t know how to resolve the issues you face, you could end up without the financial support you need.
Your lawyer can help you navigate the complicated steps and advise you about the available options. You shouldn’t take on the responsibility of a case yourself. Matters involving alimony can become contentious. You need a dedicated legal team in your corner to protect your rights.
How Carmichael Law Could Help
The lawyers of Carmichael Law Professional Corporation have more than 30 years of combined experience in matters regarding spousal support. When you hire us, we will create a personalized strategy to meet your needs and try to reach your goals. We understand what’s at stake and the importance of achieving the best possible outcome in your case.
Whether you’re pursuing spousal support or fighting legal action from your partner, you deserve quality representation. Call Carmichael Law at (905) 571-5123 right now for your initial consultation with a trusted spousal support lawyer in Oshawa, ON.