Spousal support refers to a situation where one spouse financially assists the other after the breakdown of a marriage or common-law relationship.

Married spouses and common-law spouses who have cohabited continuously for at least three years or are in a relationship of some permanence (if they have a child together) may be entitled to spousal support. The obligation to pay spousal support typically stems from a contract between the parties (i.e. a Marriage Contract or a Separation Agreement) or from a court order pursuant to Ontario legislation.

Where there is no contract between the parties for the provision of spousal support following a breakup, a court generally determines entitlement to spousal support by considering several factors, such as: whether a genuine financial need exists; the financial means of the spouses; whether the couple had children; how long the spouses were together; the parties’ roles during their relationship; and the likelihood of the recipient-spouse becoming economically self-sufficient in the future.

There are several objectives of spousal support. One of the objectives is to compensate a spouse who has given up certain career opportunities or has made other monetary sacrifices for the sake of the relationship. Another objective is to ensure economic fairness between the couple that may arise following a breakup. The goal is to assist the recipient spouse in maintaining a standard of living comparable to what they enjoyed during the relationship.

Spousal support is generally calculated by referring to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG). The SSAG provide a framework for estimating the amount and duration of spousal support. Although the SSAG is not mandatory to follow, the guide acts as a reference for courts and lawyers who are negotiating spousal support resolutions. There are several factors that the SSAG takes into consideration, including the spouses’ ages, the duration of their relationship and their respective finances. The financial payment may be provided on a periodic ongoing basis or as a lump sum payment.
Establishing entitlement to and then determining the amount and duration of spousal support are matters that are highly dependant on the facts of each particular case and therefore requires a thorough investigation into the parties and their relationship.

It is imperative that spouses obtain the advice of experienced lawyers in assisting them with pursuing and defending claims for spousal support. Contact Kamalie Law for a free consultation.

Frequently asked questions

A breach of contract happens when one party under the contract fails to fulfill their obligations – either partially, or fully. This means that someone (a person or a corporation) either did something that they were not supposed to do or did not do something that they were supposed to do. Their conduct has shown that they are not honouring the contract. 

While this is a broad definition, there are multiple types of breach of contract and multiple ways that a breach of contract can be resolved. While we may naturally think of one party simply failing to pay or someone failing to deliver goods or services, there are multiple different parts of a contract that can be breached, and the remedies may be different in different situations. 

There are two main remedies that litigants seek and are awarded in a breach of contract lawsuit.

An award of damages is one of the most well-known remedies. The innocent party may seek all out-of-pocket expenses and unquantified damages (i.e., loss of business, reputational losses, etc.) that it has suffered as a result of the defaulting party. However, the question of what damages may be claimed and awarded is not always met with a simple answer. Although most damages suffered can be claimed, courts will often exclude damage that it considers to be ‘remote’, or which was not a ‘reasonably foreseeable’ consequence of the breach of contract. 

Another remedy is called specific performance, which is a court declaration requiring a contracting party to fulfill its contractual obligations. This remedy is typically only granted when courts determine that damages are an inadequate remedy. It must be noted, however, that a declaration for specific performance does not actually force a party to fulfill their contractual obligations. In other words, although a court may award specific performance, the defaulting party may choose to ignore the order and to continue acting in breach of contract. In such situations, the innocent party may proceed to seek damages and may seek an order that the defaulting party is in contempt of court.

At Kamalie Law, our lawyers have extensive experience in litigating and resolving contract disputes. We have represented both the innocent party that wishes to commence a claim as well as the party who is alleged to be in breach of contract and is forced to defend a claim. In each scenario, our primary objective is to determine our client’s objectives and to formulate a strategy that will achieve that objective in the least time possible. 


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