Spousal support is often awarded to provide a lower income spouse with an opportunity to become self-sufficient. It can also be compensation to a lower income spouse who has sacrificed employment and income opportunities for the benefit of the family unit. The length of time that spousal support is payable for varies. Typically, the shorter the marriage, the shorter the spousal support obligation is. If the marriage has been more than 20 years in length, spousal support may be a lifetime obligation.

Spousal support amounts are determined using the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fl-df/spousal-epoux/ss-pae.html). These guidelines provide an appropriate and flexible range for determining spousal support amounts. This is typically presented as a low, mid, or high range. The appropriate amount of support is then determined by examining many factors such as: income disparity, length of marriage, health, age, work history/education, and future employment prospects.