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Is spousal support guaranteed after a divorce in Alberta?

Nothing changes a person's financial outlook quite as suddenly as a divorce. After possibly years of knowing exactly where the money is coming from, things can quickly change. Those men and women who find themselves in this position may have many questions. For example, some may be wondering if they will either pay or receive spousal support.

If a person is married and about to divorce, the federal Divorce Act, not Alberta family law, governs his or her situation. Under the Act, the most likely reason for an award of spousal support is a large disparity between the incomes of the two parties. The award of support is not automatic, however. 

A judge will consider many factors before issuing a ruling on support. These factors may include the duration of the marriage, the financial needs and means of each party, the role each party played during the marriage, and the cost of caring for children after the divorce. What a judge will not consider is whose fault the divorce was.

Child support will receive special consideration when spousal support is under discussion. Spousal support will not be allowed to interfere with the payment of child support, and may be adjusted to compensate. Regardless of how or if an award of spousal support is made, both parties are obligated to support their children.

Putting financial matters to rest constitutes a lot of what goes on during a divorce. Spousal support is just one piece of a complicated puzzle. For help with seeing the whole picture, any man or woman getting a divorce in Alberta may wish to visit with a lawyer.

Source: justice.gc.ca, "About spousal support", Accessed on April 16, 2017

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