Spouse Support In Alberta

In Canada, people also refer to “spousal support” as spouse support, or alimony. When a relationship breaks down, one of the parties may have an entitlement to receive support from the other party. Spousal support payments can have a huge economic impact for both parties. Want to know your entitlement to spousal support? Is your former partner? This uncertainty, regardless of if you pay or receive payment, makes up a significant source of stress when a relationship or marriage ends. The Edmonton spousal support lawyers at Kahane Law Office are ready to help: [email protected] or Phone (780) 571-8463.

Keep in mind, when referring to a common law partnership, or “Adult Interdependent Relationship”, it is called Adult Interdependent Partnership (AIP) support  in Alberta. However, for this article we will simply refer to both as “spousal support” to avoid constantly using both terms.

IMPORTANT: this is only a brief overview of spousal support in Alberta. This is a complex area of law that is very fact driven. This means the specific facts of your situation determine the outcome. This article is for information only, and is not legal advice. To find out how the law applies to your specific situation, you should see an Alberta Family Lawyer. As a full service Edmonton Are law firm, help help with all your legal needs.

Spousal Support In Alberta – Who Is It For?

Spousal support is a live issue for couples who are divorcing (or sometimes who have recently finalized their divorce), and for former AIPs. To learn more about how to know if you meet the category of AIP, read more about common law separations. Spousal support is meant to equalize the net disposable income of both parties where one of the parties is entitled to receive support. However, just because one party makes more money than the other does not mean that the other party is entitled to support.

Objectives Of Spousal Support?

Both Federal (Divorce Act) and provincial (Family Law Act) law set out the objectives for spousal support. Our Edmonton Spousal Support lawyers help ensure fair payments with them. Both acts state objectives that are virtually identical, and include:

  • Identifying financial advantages and disadvantages arising as a result of the relationship or its breakdown;
  • Fairly dividing the financial burden related to caring for a child of the relationship (over and above child support); and
  • Encouraging financial self-sufficiency.

The aim of spousal support is not to punish the payor party. Instead, the aim is to ensure that the party with the least resources receives enough to not burden society. The end goal, to enabled them to become self-sufficient in a reasonable time frame.

Factors For Consideration

With the help of our Edmonton Spousal Support lawyers, we use several factors to ensure fair payments.Both the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act lay out the factors for consideration when determining appropriate spousal support. For example, they include:

  • How long the couple has lived together;
  • The responsibilities each party had during their time of cohabitation (traditional relationships where one party is the primary bread-winner and the other stays at home at runs the household is generally a factor in favour of the stay-at-home party receiving support); and
  • Any agreement the parties made that deals with support (for example, a “pre-nuptial” or “cohabitation” agreement).

If the relationship is not a marriage, but instead an Adult Interdependent Relationship, the Family Law Act applies, and the following must also be considered:

  • Any other legal support obligations, including child support; and
  • If either party is living with someone else, how that person contributes to the cost of living, and how that affects ability to pay or need for support.

What About Child Support?

Child support takes priority over spousal support, but it never replaces spousal support. If the payor party lacks enough income to pay both child support and spousal support, then the amount of spousal support sees a corresponding reduction or even elimination.

Edmonton Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines


The Department of Justice has developed the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines to help Judges and Lawyers deal with spousal support in a consistent way. These guidelines take many factors into consideration. For example, the factors include how exactly to calculate the income of both parties for the purposes of determining the amount of spousal support, and how long spousal support continues for. These guidelines include well thought out and somewhat complicated factors. There is also an extensive body of common law (Judges’ decisions) dealing with how and where to apply the guidelines. Because of this we recommend getting help from an Alberta Divorce Lawyer if spousal support is at issue in your separation or divorce.

Spousal support is a particularly complicated aspect of family law. You should not agree to any agreement or court order concerning spousal support without first getting legal advice.

Edmonton Spousal Support Lawyers

Concerned spousal support might be a live issue in your separation? The best place to start is by booking a “no commitment” initial consultation with one of our lawyers. For a reasonable flat rate you get answers to your questions. You also learn how the law applies to your specific situation, and get advice on what to do next.

If you need more legal help after that first meeting, we provide you with as much cost certainty as possible. The next step is for your lawyer to prepare a detailed plan for moving your matter forward, along with the associated fees. Before you give us a retainer you know exactly what that money pays for. Most family lawyers do not use this model, instead they charge you by the hour.

To book an appointment, call (780) 571-8463, email [email protected].