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Separation and Divorce: Spousal Support

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How do judges decide on spousal support?

A judge may decide that one spouse must pay support because of their ability to pay and the other spouse's financial need. Or the reason may be to compensate the other spouse for unpaid work that he or she did during the relationship.

If the judge decides there should be spousal support, the judge must then decide the amount of support and for how long it must be paid. The judge will take into account things such as:

  • the length of the relationship,
  • whether there are children and what arrangements have been made for them,
  • the roles the spouses played during the relationship,
  • the age of each spouse, and
  • each spouse's financial situation.

The judge may also consider the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs).