Offices in Ottawa and Perth
(613) 722-1500

CONTACT US (613) 722-1500

The Impact of Delay When Making a Claim for Spousal Support

The Impact of Delay When Making a Claim for Spousal Support

By:

Posted December 16, 2019

Both married and common-law spouses may be entitled to support following the breakdown of a relationship.  While other claims in family law are subject to limitation periods (for example, a claim for equalization of property), there is no limitation period for bringing a claim for spousal support under either the Family Law Act or Divorce Act.  While there is no limitation period barring a claim for spousal support, considerable delay in making a claim for support may result in the claim being dismissed.

How delay will be considered and treated will depend on the specific facts of each case.  The case law, however, sets out the factors to be considered when determining a claim for spousal support in the face of delay.

In Fyfe v. Jouppien, the court was tasked with assessing a claim for spousal support six years following separation.  The parties, in that case, had been married for eighteen years.   In the decision, Chappel J. stated that:

“[E]xcessive delay in seeking spousal support by a party may raise questions as to whether there was an ongoing reasonable expectation of support, and whether there was actual need on the part of the claimant spouse”.

In the Fyfe case, the parties agreed that the claimant of spousal support did not have any entitlement to support at the time of separation but the circumstances had changed resulting in a finding that the claimant was now entitled to support on a needs basis.

Some of the factors the court will consider when deciding whether to grant a claim for spousal support in the face of delay are as follows:

  1. Financial need arising after separation;
  2. Financial interdependence, both before and particularly after separation; and
  3. The length of the delay in making the claim.

Other decisions have suggested that delay should not affect a claim for support, provided that there is a compelling reason for the delay in bringing the claim.

While the delay in bringing a claim for support is not a bar to support and there are many cases in which support has been ordered notwithstanding delay, one should not put off bringing a claim.  As previously noted, each case will turn on its own specific facts and delay may increase the possibility that a claim will be dismissed.

This blog post was written by Kate Wright, a member of the Family Law, Wills and Estates and Litigation teams.  She can be reached at 613-369-0383 or at kate.wright@mannlawyers.com.

More Resources

Blog |
Family Law

By: 

Posted January 26, 2023

You have made the decision to separate from your partner. Now what? You have a house, a pension, maybe you have children, debts, and an[...]
Blog |
Environmental Law

By: 

Posted January 24, 2023

The Ontario government has moved ahead with changes to the Ontario Wetland Evaluation System in support of Bill 23, More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022. [...]
Blog |
Employment, Labour, and Human Rights

By: 

Posted January 17, 2023

While each of these cases could have its own blog post, we have decided to create a list of important cases for employers to be[...]
Blog |
Employment, Labour, and Human Rights

By: 

Posted January 10, 2023

Constructive Dismissal is an incredibly important protection for Ontario employees – one that is often used successfully to enforce employment rights. If you ask members[...]
Blog |
Estate Litigation, Wills, Trusts and Estates

By: 

Posted January 4, 2023

Executing powers of attorney is an important component of estate planning and allows individuals to decide who will manage their affairs should they become incapable[...]
Blog |
Estate Litigation, Wills, Trusts and Estates

By: 

Posted December 20, 2022

Acting as an estate trustee can be a burdensome task, and it can become particularly difficult in circumstances where beneficiaries cannot be so easily found[...]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

"*" indicates required fields

Name*
Consent*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.