Family Law

Spousal Support

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Get the support you deserve.

Determining entitlement to spousal support can be difficult. Many factors impact how long, how much and whether spousal support is payable at all. Our spousal support lawyers can help you get clarity, and get the support you deserve.

mom giving money support to son

Know your rights.

Spousal support law can be complex, fraught with pitfalls, and time-sensitive with short limitation periods. Our team of family lawyers has the expertise and experience to help you easily avoid the most common mistakes.

Protect your future.

Lump sum pay-outs, equity division, and taxable amounts are all considerations you may not have thought about when it comes to spousal support. We’re here to map out exactly what you need to know so there are no surprises down the line.

Contact us

Kendelle did an outstanding job representing me in what became on ongoing divorce litigation. Her legal abilities, knowledge and straightforward advice was very important to me during a particularly stressful time. Kendelle and her assistant Laura were always able to answer any questions and provide their thoughts, especially when issues arose as they were aware of the intricacies involved with my case. I would highly recommend Kendelle and her staff as she not only invests in her clients, but during the entire process was very professional representing my best interests throughout all of the negotiations.

J.M., former client

The Pier Law Approach.

At Pier Law & Mediation, we are not a ‘one size fits all’ firm. Each family is unique, and we tailor our services to meet your legal needs. That said, there are three core steps to the resolution process.



We’ll set up a kickoff session to get to know each other and map out the current situation and desired outcomes.


We engage with all parties involved to collect financial, parenting, and other relevant information important to the case.


We move to settle the case via negotiation, mediation, or court appearances – whichever makes the most sense in your situation.
While divorce cases can vary from straightforward to complex, these three steps are at the heart of the overall process.

Commonly asked spousal support questions.

Spousal Support is money paid from one spouse to another after separation. Our spousal support lawyers at Pier Law & Mediation can guide you through spousal support in White Rock, Surrey, and surrounding areas every step of the way.

Spousal support is most commonly paid on a monthly basis, but it can also be paid in one lump sum, as a ‘buy out’, so to speak. Unlike child support, spousal support payable on a monthly basis is taxable in the hands of the recipient, not the payor.

Spousal support may be payable by one spouse to another when a couple is married; has lived together in a ‘marriage-like’ relationship for at least two years; or, when a couple has a child and lives together, regardless of how long they have lived together. Our spousal support lawyers can advise you in your particular situation.

When considering whether you or your spouse is entitled to receive spousal support, Section 161 of the Family Law Act outlines four objectives to consider:

  • To recognize any economic advantages or disadvantages to the spouse arising from the relationship between the spouses or the breakdown of that relationship
  • To apportion between the spouses any financial consequences arising from the care of their child, beyond the duty to provide support for the child
  • To relieve any economic hardship of the spouses arising from the breakdown of the relationship between the spouses, and,
  • As far as practicable, to promote the economic self-sufficiency of each spouse within a reasonable period of time

Generally speaking, there are three types of entitlement to spousal support:

  1. Compensatory
  2. Non-Compensatory (Needs-Based)
  3. Contractual

Some examples of instances where entitlement to spousal support may be found are listed below:

  1. Your spouse’s career was given higher priority over the course of the relationship than your own while you focused more on running the household and family affairs
  2. You left the paid work force to focus your time more on meeting the needs of the household and/or family
  3. You are dependent on your spouse financially to meet your financial needs and/or have become accustomed to a lifestyle provided by your spouse which you are unable to achieve financially on your own
  4. You sacrificed in some way to support your spouse in his or her studies or career training
  5. Your spouse agreed in a Marriage Agreement or Pre-nuptial Agreement to pay you spousal support in the event of separation

The above list of examples is far from exhaustive. Determining entitlement to spousal support can be difficult – our spousal support lawyers can assist you.


In British Columbia, we typically look to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines to determine how much the spousal support payment should be and for how long the payments should go on. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are not law, but they provide a guideline and some direction for the Courts when making spousal support orders. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are utilized across the country, and as noted, are advisory only in nature.

Nevertheless, in British Columbia, the Court of Appeal has been clear in its direction that the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines must be given significant weight. In fact, if a judge varies or deviates from the ranges calculated by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines and fails to address any reasons why the judge acted upon his or her discretion to deviate from those ranges, that judge may have made an appealable error. What this means is that the judge’s decision could be overturned.

Basically, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are an attempt to put into a mathematical formula how the majority of spousal support cases have and are being determined in Canada. These Advisory Guidelines look at factors such as:

  • Length of time the spouses lived together
  • Income of each spouse
  • Ages of the spouses
  • Number of children, if any (and ages of the children)
  • Special and Extraordinary Expenses of the children

At Pier Law & Mediation, our spousal support lawyers use sophisticated software called DivorceMate to calculate spousal support payments. Once relevant factors are entered into the software data systems, the system will generate a range of monthly spousal support calculations unique to your situation.

The final DivorceMate calculation will provide you with a low-range, mid-range and high-range payment value so you are able to see the different options available to you. The calculation will also provide you with a range of years the payments should be made.

DivorceMate has a free online tool on the internet for spouses to conduct very basic calculations, called My Support Calculator. Keep in mind, however, that this free version of the software has limited functionality and does not take into account numerous factors accounted for in the paid version. Contact one of our spousal support lawyers to run a full and complete spousal support calculation on the full, paid version of the software before making any final commitments on spousal support.

It is important to note that time limits may apply if you intend to apply for spousal support. If you are or were married, there is no limitation period to apply for spousal support under the Divorce Act.

  1. If you intend to apply as an unmarried spouse under the Family Law Act, however, limitation periods do apply.
  2. If you were married, you must apply for spousal support within 2 years of your divorce
  3. If you are not married, but still qualify as a spouse, you must apply for spousal support within 2 years of your separation date

Notwithstanding the above, it is best to apply for spousal support sooner rather than later. If you wait too long to make a claim, even if you are within the proper time limits, your claim may be weakened.

Calculating spousal support can be challenging and it is important to meet the spousal support limitation period. Family lawyers are best positioned to help you navigate spousal support law. Further, in the case of high-net worth spouses, the rights of spouses entitled to receive, the obligations of spouses required to pay, and the amounts of spousal support payable are even more complicated.

Many factors, considerations and circumstances can and will impact whether or not spousal support is payable, how long spousal support is payable, how much spousal support is payable, and whether or not spousal support can be changed after an order or agreement is made.

At Pier Law & Mediation, our spousal support lawyers are equipped with the knowledge and expertise to expertly advise and guide you through any claims for or defenses against spousal support. The law of spousal support can be complex and fraught with pitfalls which may be avoided. Further, particularly in the case of common-law spouses, limitation periods may apply, so it is important not to delay in seeking advice from one of our experienced Surrey and White Rock divorce lawyers.

Let us help you get back to living your life.

Divorce is never easy, but this isn’t our first kick at the can. Let us help you get a fair outcome and move on with your life