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Things you should know about Spousal Support Guidelines in Alberta

Two statutes -- the Family Law Act and the Divorce Act -- are used to determine matters of spousal support in Alberta. In general, the purpose of spousal support is to recognize and account for either spouse's economic advantages or disadvantages caused by the end of the marriage.

The Family Law Act and the Divorce Act both clarify that misconduct on the part of either spouse will not factor into whether or not spousal support is granted or the amount of support to be paid.

Unlike Canada's Child Support Guidelines, the Spousal Support Guidelines are not laws but recommendations. Judges often use the Spousal Support Guidelines but are not required by law to do so. It is therefore important that people with spousal support concerns have help from a lawyer in determining how much spousal support, if any, should be paid.

One factor addressed in the guidelines is the duration of spousal support payments. If the parties do not have children, then the guidelines recommend that spousal support should continue for up to one year for every year the spouses resided together.

The guidelines also establish what are commonly called the "Rule of 20" and the "Rule of 65." Spousal support can continue indefinitely if the spouses lived together for more than 20 years. Likewise, support may continue indefinitely if you can add the number of years the parties lived together to the recipient's age and the total comes to more than 65.

You can find other general information on spousal support here.

For more on negotiating for a fair separation agreement, please visit our Calgary Spousal Support overview.


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