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Jurisdiction for Spousal Support Order (alimony)

Angela Princewill

June 25, 2017

Alimony When seeking an Order for spousal support (alimony as it is sometimes referred to), it is important to know in what court you will be asking for the relief.

For example, if you have already gotten a divorce outside of Canada, you cannot bring a claim for spousal support in a Superior Court as the Superior Court does not have the jurisdiction to order spousal support when the parties have already received a divorce outside Canada.

Also, the Ontario Court of Justice does not have the jurisdiction to hear a proceeding where a party is asking for spousal support under the Divorce Act, if the parties have obtained a divorce outside of Canada.  The case of Okmyansky v. Okmyansky, 2007 ONCA 427 is the binding authority on this subject.

While a person may seek spousal support under the Family Law Act, it also cannot be done if the parties obtain a divorce outside Canada.  Section 30 of the Family Law Act (FLA) provides that:

“Every spouse has an obligation to provide support for himself or herself and for the other spouse, in accordance with need, to the extent that he or she is capable of doing so.  R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 30; 1999, c. 6, s. 25 (3); 2005, c. 5, s. 27 (7).”

This section refers only to spouses and not to former spouses.  A Spouse under Part III of the FLA is defined as follows:

“spouse” means a spouse as defined in subsection 1 (1), and in addition includes either of two persons who are not married to each other and have cohabited,

(a) continuously for a period of not less than three years, or

(b) in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the parents of a child as set out in section 4 of the Children’s Law Reform Act. (“conjoint”)  R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 29; 1999, c. 6, s. 25 (2); 2005, c. 5, s. 27 (4-6); 2009, c. 11, s. 30; 2016, c. 23, s. 47 (1).”

Therefore, former spouses are not entitled to claim support under the FLA.

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