What Happens To My Spousal Support Payments If I Remarry?

Angela Princewill

November 17, 2015

If you are receiving spousal support payment or alimony (as it is called in the USA) you may wonder what happens if you remarry.

Spousal Support Determined

Spousal support is the amount you receive from your former partner when you separate, to contribute to your living expenses. For spousal support purposes, a spouse is determined in the Family Law Act as two persons who;

  1. are married to each other; or
  2. have together entered into a marriage that is voidable or void, in good faith on the part of a person relying on this clause to assert any right.

It also includes two persons who are not married to each other and have cohabited;

  1. continuously for a period of not less than three years, or
  2. in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.

Therefore you may be entitled to spousal support even though you are not married or have only lived together for a short time.

The payment or receipt of spousal support is not based on fault. The starting point is always to determine whether or not you are entitled to spousal support based on:

  1. need
  2. compensation
  3. contractual obligation

Spousal support is covered under the Divorce Act (married persons only) and the Ontario Family Law Act. The purpose of spousal support under Subsection 33(8) of the Family Law Act is to:

(a) recognize the spouse’s contribution to the relationship and the economic consequences of the relationship for the spouse;

(b) share the economic burden of child support equitably;

(c) make fair provision to assist the spouse to become able to contribute to his or her own support; and

(d) relieve financial hardship, if this has not been done by orders under Parts I (Family Property) and II (Matrimonial Home).  R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 33 (8); 1999, c. 6, s. 25 (5); 2005, c. 5, s. 27 (9).

So what happens if you are a spousal support recipient and you remarry?

This is a factor that is determined on a case by case basis and the starting point is to, look at the basis of your entitlement to spousal support in the first place.

If your spousal support is based solely on a need that no longer exists as a result of your remarriage, a court may be persuaded to vary or terminate the spousal support payments. If need still exists, then the fact of your remarriage alone may not be sufficient to justify a variation or termination of the spousal support payments.

Another scenario may be where your former spouse is claiming undue hardship. If your new standard of living exceeds his due to your remarrying then your remarriage may be a relevant factor in a proceeding to vary or terminate spousal support.

If your entitlement to spousal support is based on compensation, then your remarrying may not relive the other party from their spousal support obligation.

Each case is unique and whether support payment will continue or terminate on a marriage to a new partner must be determined based the unique factual scenario.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact Professional Lawyers in Markham, Toronto, Pickering, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.