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Spousal support and what it looks like in Alberta

Spousal support is actually called "spousal and partner support" in Alberta. It can be ordered by a judge if there is an imminent divorce, or a divorce has already occurred. Also, if the parties are ending an Adult Interdependent Relationship, spousal support can be ordered.

This type of relationship is defined as one that extends at least three years. The term also applies if you have been in the relationship for less than three years and signed a contract with the person. Do you two have a child? Then you also have grounds for spousal support to be ordered.

A lawyer can help you understand more clearly exactly what this relationship is and what you can expect from the court of law.

The objectives of spousal support are clear. They are listed in the Divorce Act of Canada and the Family Law Act. The objectives are to recognize the economic advantages or disadvantages to the two people coming out of the marriage. Have you suffered after a divorce because you were a stay-at-home spouse? Spousal support will lessen the hardship that you face because this union ended. Spousal support laws also try to encourage both of you to become self-supporting.

The law states that any misconduct of either of the people getting this divorce cannot be mentioned or be the reason that the amount is set. In other words, they look at only the marriage, who was the major wage earner and why.

Spousal support is not given to punish bad behavior or to acknowledge good behavior.

The Divorce Act says that the judge has to look at the conditions, needs and other circumstances of each spouse. The court will consider the length of the union, the functions that each spouse fulfilled while they were living together and any arrangement that has been made to support one or the other person.

Can you begin to see that the law, although specific, is long and needs really complete research in order for it to work to your advantage? Getting a legal representative involved can ensure that you get what is rightfully yours.

Source: Family Law Information Centre, "General Information Spousal/Partner Support," accessed July 20, 2015

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