In terms of our common law, spouses have a reciprocal duty to support each other during their marriage and this includes financial support. This duty ends when the marriage is terminated either by death or divorce.
In terms of the Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act, a surviving spouse may claim reasonable maintenance from a deceased spouse’s estate.
The Divorce Act, on the other hand, makes provision for a spouse to claim maintenance on divorce. This is not an automatic right to spousal maintenance post divorce and the Divorce Act states that a court may grant an order for spousal maintenance. The factors that the court will take into account when determining whether or not a maintenance order should be made include, the financial means, earning capacity, financial obligations, needs and age of both spouses, the duration of the marriage, the spouses’ standard of living prior to the divorce, their conduct relating to the breakdown of the marriage and any other factor that the court may deem relevant.
For more information please contact the STBB Family Law Department.