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Separation and Divorce: Spousal Support

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What if a spouse is on social assistance?

Separated spouses on social assistance must try to get any spousal support they might be entitled to. If they do not make reasonable efforts, they may get less assistance or none at all.

If they do not already have a support agreement or order, they usually are expected to get one. They must give information about the other spouse to a family support worker who can help them get a support agreement or order. They should get legal advice before signing any agreement worked out on their behalf.

They may not have to try to get support if the other spouse:

  • has a history of violence toward them or their child,
  • cannot be found (but they must give their worker any information they have that might help find the other spouse), or
  • is not working and cannot afford to pay support.

Each month, they have to report how much spousal support they received. The amount will be deducted from their social assistance.

For more information see the CLEO publication, Spousal support when you are on OW or ODSP. See the back cover to find out how to order a copy or view it online.

You can also visit and click on "Income Assistance", "Ontario Works", and then "Can I get spousal support and money from OW?".