Our common law provides that spouses have a reciprocal duty to support each other during their marriage, which includes financial support. This reciprocal duty ends when the marriage is terminated either by death or divorce. In the event of death, the Maintenance of Surviving Spouses Act allows the surviving spouse to claim reasonable maintenance from the deceased’s estate.
The Divorce Act, on the other hand, makes provision for a spouse to claim maintenance on divorce. Our law does not recognize 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 factor that the court deems relevant.
For more information, contact the STBB Family Law Department.