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How is Spousal Support Calculated in Alberta

How is Spousal Support Calculated in Alberta?

Concerned about the arrangement of your spousal support? This blog will explain how is spousal support calculated in Alberta along with relevant information.

Spousal support is one of the major parts of an official divorce process. Also, it is the most complex side of a divorce and is determined by following some guidelines from the Family Law Act and Divorce Act.

Read on to get further information on the spousal support calculation.

First, Who is Supposed to Ask for Spousal Support?

In a divorce, any partner can ask for spousal support. This is mainly based on the capacity of income. Therefore, male or female, the spouse with a lower or no income has the right to spousal support.

Nevertheless, the judge will consider a list of factors to figure out who needs spousal support, as follows—

  • Income sources, demands, and circumstances of both partners
  • Duration they are together
  • Role of each spouse in the marriage
  • Effect of the roles on the financial condition of both partners after the breakdown of the relationship
  • Current responsibilities for children
  • Previous orders or agreements already applied for spousal support

Note that neither of the spouses has a default right for spousal support. Find valid grounds for spousal support in the following section.

Why One Needs to Provide Spousal Support?

According to the Divorce Act of Canada, one needs to give spousal support to an ex-partner under the following conditions–

  • Compensating the partner if they sacrificed their ability to earn while in the marriage
  • Supporting the partner to ensure child care and growth
  • Helping the partner if they become financially unstable after the divorce

These three reasons imply that your spouse won’t automatically receive financial support from you except for these reasons.

This, in other words, means the entitlement to spousal support. And to get the support, one must establish their entitlement first.

Find more about the reasons in the section below.

When a Wife Entitled to a Divorce in Alberta?

The entitlement can be of two kinds, such as compensatory and non-compensatory. In compensatory entitlement, you must pay for the 2 reasons mentioned above.

And for the non-compensatory entitlement involved the interdependency of your ex. That will be the 3rd reason in the previous section.

After the divorce, your former spouse can face economic hardship. As a result, their standard of living will decline, and you must assist in such a  case.

Does the Length of the Marriage Matter to Get Spousal Support?

Just because you two individuals are together, they don’t have the right to spousal support. The length of the marriage also matters.

A couple needs to be together—

  • At least 3 years or
  • Less than 3 years after signing an Adult Interdependent Relationship Agreement
  • Less than 3 years if you have children together

So, is there any Alberta spousal support calculator? No, there’s a formula to sort it out. Check the next section for a better idea.

How is Spousal Support Calculated in Alberta?

Spousal support or maintenance, also known as alimony in Alberta, is a partner’s financial support to their interdependent ex-partner.

Generally, it’s paid every month. But it can be completed through the one-time payment option. And the amount of spousal support gets decided before the duration of spousal support.

The calculation of spousal support contains two sides: the payer and recipient of the support. Let’s show what factors are considered.

Spousal Support: Factors Considered for the Payor & Recipient

  • Income
  • Age
  • Break from work
  • Lifestyle
  • Child custody
  • Prenup and marriage contract
  • Retirement time
  • Health condition

Based on these aspects, the judge will decide the amount for spousal support. As stated previously, after deciding the amount comes the duration.

How Long Should Spousal Maintenance be Paid?

The duration of spousal support in Alberta can be specific or can be indefinite.

  • Regarding specifying the amount, two factors are generally considered– remarriage and a child’s high-school graduation. If a spouse cohabits or marries another person, that unties the ex-partner from the responsibility of assisting the other partner financially. Since the receipt is involved with someone else, they will be responsible for the expenditure.
  • In terms of indefinite time, the duration of the marriage and age will matter. If you have been married for a minimum of 20 years, the spousal support will be forever. On the other hand, if the recipient is 65 years old or more than that, the spousal support continues.

Final Notes

In Alberta, the legislation follows the Divorce Act and Family Law Act to sort out the legal separation procedure. The purpose of these guidelines and rules is to ensure the support of a spouse after divorce. And the amount one will be paying depends on various factors.

The same applies to the spousal support duration. Hopefully, you are clear about the calculation of Spousal support. But making a  spousal support agreement requires a lawyer’s help. So, make sure you see a spousal support lawyer to prepare a spousal support agreement.


Need more information? Look at the queries listed below.

How much alimony does a husband have to pay?

The amount of spousal support or alimony is not fixed. It depends on several factors such as financial condition, health condition, child custody, age, the gap from work, prenup, and marriage contract.

Is there a time limit to apply for spousal support in Alberta?

No. None of the Family Law or Divorce Acts specify a statute of limitation. But the sooner you ask for it, the better. Usually, people secure spousal support based on their entitlement right after the divorce.

Does spousal support change with income in Alberta?

Yes. But you must submit a ‘motion to change’ application explaining current financial circumstances. Besides, the income range of both partners is considered to make a fair spousal support agreement at the beginning.

Do I have to pay my wife maintenance after divorce?

Yes, but your wife must be entitled to receive it from you. Three instances that indicate entitlement that includes – she has sacrificed her ability to income during the marriage, support essential for child care and growth, and financial instability after the divorce

Do I have to support my wife during separation?

Yes, only if your wife is interdependent. So, if your wife’s income or assets are insufficient to meet their expenses, you must support your wife during the separation.

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