ANSWERS: 1
  • The term "alimony" is rarely used in Canada. Payments are usually described as "spousal support" and "child support", which are quite distinct from one another. While divorce is a federal matter, family court is a provincial responsibility. Any individual can ask the court for a ruling on spousal and/or child support *at any time*. There is no time period in which this must occur or after which it cannot occur. A person can petition the court for a variation on an existing order or agreement at any time. Asking the court for an interim support or custody order should be done as soon as possible after the separation. An interim order is usually granted, pending a final agreement between the parties or another court order. Your motion for divorce should have included the terms of settlement, which would include any child support you or your spouse are required to pay. Spousal support may or may not be ordered at the same time. Adults are expected to support themselves, unless there is a very good reason they should need financial support (e.g., older person with no income other than their spouse's, a disabled person who cannot work). An interim court order may or may not include spousal support, depending on the circumstances. It may order interim support if your spouse is not working, but is able to do so. Interim support may terminate or be reduced when the recipient obtains a suitable job or after a specific period of time has elapsed. Family court will always order child support if you have any children, unless they are adults and self-sufficient. The court usually bases child support payments on an established formula or uses generally-accepted guidelines within the province (not all provinces have established support formulas) and the non-custodial parent's income.

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