Calculating Spousal Support in BC? Here's What You Need to Know

All Necessary Info About Spousal Support Calculation in British Columbia, Canada

Divorce, undoubtedly, ranks among the most challenging decisions a couple may encounter in their lifetime. After years of shared interests, goals, and journeys, the prospect of parting ways can be heart-wrenching, yet, at times, it becomes an inevitable choice. As individuals navigate this emotional terrain, they often contemplate their rights and the options provided by the legal system. Matters such as reaching agreements, spousal support calculation , and addressing child support come to the forefront. In this article, we delve deeper into these crucial aspects.

What Is Spousal Support?

Sometimes, a spouse may need financial support post-divorce. Spousal support recognizes that child care or financial dependence can impact self-support. This support isn’t automatic; one must apply for alimony calculating and receiving. Situations warranting spousal support include:

  • Parental duties hindering full-time employment.
  • A spouse who sacrificed prospects for the other’s career.
  • Financial strain from separation.
  • Need for financial independence post-separation.
  • Different living standards between spouses.
  • A spouse who moved for the other’s career.
  • Inability to secure a job post-separation.
  • Financial hardship until self-sufficiency. The Family Law Act outlines alimony objectives.

According to the British Columbia’s Family Law Act, the objectives of this alimony are defined as follows:

  • Deal with any economic advantages or disadvantages a spouse may face as a result of the relationship or separation
  • Share the financial consequences arising from the care of the children
  • Reduce the financial hardship a spouse will experience as a result of the separation
  • Encourage each spouse to become financially self-sufficient within a reasonable period of time

It’s advisable to seek counsel before applying for spousal support to prevent incurring unnecessary costs if you’re ineligible.

Understanding Entitlement and Limits Before Alimony Calculation

Understanding Entitlement and Limits Before Alimony Calculation

Before you delve into the spousal support calculation, it’s crucial to grasp the entitlement and limits applying for alimony.


You may apply for spousal support if:

  • You were married
  • You lived together in a marriage-like relationship for at least two years
  • You lived in a marriage-like relationship for less than two years, but you have a child together (This recognizes that having a child together also creates interdependence between the couple that may result in a need for spousal support.)

Still, these are not the only factors indicating your entitlement. You need to consider the other aspects of separation discussed in the following.


Please note that applying for alimony under the Family Law Act and Divorce Act in British Columbia differs. Married couples must apply for spousal support under the Family Law Act within two years of receiving a divorce order. The Divorce Act imposes no time limit. Unmarried partners eligible for spousal support must apply within two years of separation. The duration of alimony received by the dependent spouse also has certain restrictions.

Alimony Calculation in BC

Alimony Calculation in BC

Main step in the spousal support calculation process is how to calculate the fair amount. Factors such as the length of marriage or cohabitation, each spouse’s average income, living standards, and average expenses in the city of residence (which may slightly vary from one city to another within BC, such as Surrey, Langley, White Rock) are considered in this calculation.

Despite being entitled to support, you may not receive spousal support due to other factors. Some of the basic and most influential aspects of alimony calculation will be introduced subsequently. The calculation of spousal support, in terms of both amount and duration, considers the individual circumstances of each spouse. This includes:

  • The financial standing of both you and your ex-spouse
  • The length of your relationship
  • The age and number of children you share, if any, and the parenting time arrangement.
  • The roles each spouse played during the relationship
  • The needs of the spouse seeking support to achieve self-sufficiency, which might include further training or education

Based on these factors, there are three probable results for alimony calculating cases:

  1. No need for spousal support
  2. Spousal support may be granted as a one-time lump sum
  3. Spousal support should be made in regular installments over a specified period

Note that a judge, when deciding on spousal support, won’t consider aspects like who initiated the separation or if there was infidelity.  The duration of spousal support typically hinges on the length of your relationship. It’s common for support to continue for six months to a year for each year of marriage or cohabitation. For instance, a 15-year relationship might yield 7½ to 15 years of support. However, for long-term marriages with separation at an advanced age, support may not have a set end date. The conclusion might be determined later, possibly at the payor’s retirement.

What Is the Rule of 65 for Spousal Support, and How Does It Affect Alimony Calculation in BC?

The ‘Rule of 65’ under SSAG outlines the duration of spousal support after a long-term relationship in later life. If the recipient’s age plus the marriage length totals 65 or more, they may receive indefinite support. Eligibility criteria include:

  • At least 5 years of marriage.
  • Combined age and marriage duration of 65 or more.

Remember, ‘indefinite’ doesn’t mean ‘permanent’. Support can be reviewed and adjusted based on changes like retirement or increased self-sufficiency. The rule primarily affects duration, not the monthly amount, which depends on each partner’s income, childcare needs, and other factors. This is an overview of the ‘Rule of 65’, a part of BC’s spousal support guidelines. For tailored, accurate information, consult a legal professional. Zukerman Law offers high-quality advice, online services, and free initial in-person or phone-call sessions to help you understand your path.

How Is Alimony Paid?

How Is Alimony Paid?

Spousal support is usually paid monthly, but it can also be a one-time lump sum. This is determined by an agreement between the parties or by a court order. The agreement specifies the duration and possible changes in the amount. For example, the monthly spousal support could:

  • Remain constant
  • Adjust annually based on income
  • Decrease yearly by a set amount
  • Be reviewed on a specific date is the official website of the Canadian legal system, where you can obtain an approximate estimate of spousal support you may receive if eligible. Please carefully read its limitations and terms of use before counting on the final result.

Remember, if you need extended support and it’s not up for automatic review, request an extension before the final payment. Also, this option is available for spouses to agree that neither pay spousal support as an alternative.

Remember, if you need extended support and it’s not up for automatic review, request an extension before the final payment. Also, this option is at disposal for spouses to agree that neither pay spousal support as an alternative.

How Is Alimony Calculated If a Couple Lives in Two Different Provinces?

Navigating separation across different Canadian provinces can be complex. Each province may assert jurisdiction, influencing where you file and which court supervises your case. Jurisdiction claims are based on residency and other factors, but don’t guarantee control if connections between a couple are weak. Courts can’t directly manage out-of-province property. It’s strongly advised not to tackle this alone. A lawyer experienced in interprovincial separations can explain legal details, help you, and make sure your rights are protected.


Divorce involves many legal complexities, including spousal support, which is influenced by factors like relationship length, finances, and childcare responsibilities. Navigating this requires legal advice, as spousal support isn’t automatic and requires a court application. Guidelines like the ‘Rule of 65’ can affect support duration and amount. But remember, you’re not alone; Zukerman Law is here to help. We offer an initial phone call session to provide a comprehensive overview of legal expenses and partner shares.

Our AI-based online system is available anytime, anywhere to help you understand what lies ahead. Our experienced legal professionals guide you with precision and compassion. Each case is unique and requires careful consideration to ensure fair access to your rights. If you’re embarking on this journey in BC, particularly in Surrey, White Rock, or Langley, seek advice from our dedicated professionals. Ready to navigate your journey with confidence? Contact Zukerman Law today for professional guidance.


1) Is spousal support mandatory in BC?

No. It can be negotiated, and sometimes, neither partner must pay alimony to the other party.

2) Is the rule of 65 mandatory and taken into action automatically?

No, making a file, getting to an agreement, or a court order to onset the spousal support is required.

3) What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in BC?

In a divorce in British Columbia, including Surrey, a wife is entitled to several things including Division of Property and Assets, Spousal Support, Child Support and Parenting Arrangements, and Debt Division. (Referring to internal links).

4) Do I have to pay spousal support if my ex is living with someone else in BC?

If your ex lives with someone else in BC, it might change, but it won’t automatically stop your spousal support. The court considers various factors previously discussed when determining alimony. Professional advice is crucial in these matters.

5) Should a portion of spousal support go towards child support?

No. They are separate. Child support is mandatory, while spousal support is negotiable and depends on specific conditions.

6) How much do most people get for alimony in BC?

In BC, alimony, or spousal support, is usually based on the income difference between spouses.  It varies based on factors like relationship length, child custody, and each spouse’s finances, which have all been discussed in this article before. So, it’s hard to give an average amount. For a rough estimate, consider using an online calculator.

7) Can an order or agreement be changed in Surrey, BC?

Yes, however, it is recommended that if you want to change the agreement or order, first talk to your spouse or their lawyer about what change you’d like. It’s best if you can come to an agreement about this.

8) What can I do if my ex-spouse is late or refuses to pay the alimony?

Mostly, people make agreements based on this case. However, if your spouse refuses to pay spousal support or is not committed to paying it properly, and if you have a written agreement or order about spousal support, you should take action through a government service called the BC Family Maintenance Enforcement Program (FMEP) and enroll the agreement or order with the program. They can assist you in this case.