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 |
Estate Litigation

By: 

Posted September 20, 2022

Disputes over a will after a testator has died can result in costly and time-consuming litigation.  Testators may anticipate this conflict and try to avoid[...]
Blog |
Business Law

By: 

Posted September 6, 2022

Canada is a lush, beautiful country, and nature abounds. Canada is also a vibrant economic market and foreign companies looking to do business in Canada[...]
Blog |
Real Estate

By: 

Posted August 30, 2022

There has been much discussion on the changes in the real estate market, particularly on affordability. To save costs, many prospective buyers and sellers may[...]
Blog |
Practice Management

By: 

Posted August 23, 2022

In an earlier blog post, I discussed some practice development tips for newer lawyers.  This post continues that conversation. Not Work Life Balance – Integration[...]
Blog |
Practice Management

By: 

Posted August 15, 2022

Most seniors have an opinion on what new or newer lawyers should be considering concerning practice development.  Me too.  I don’t think there is a[...]
Blog |
Environmental Law

By: 

Posted August 8, 2022

Purchasing a property that is contaminated can be daunting.  There are many risks to consider, including significant liability risks.  In some cases, a full assessment[...]

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

"*" indicates required fields

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