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Spousal Support Orders from Other Countries

Some people may think they are automatically entitled to spousal support after filing for divorce. Spousal support is not an automatic right. It is something that one party needs to qualify for in order to receive. There are many factors that can go into calculating eligibility for spousal support. One of the main factors is how much of a financial disadvantage one party may be after the parties divide their assets.

In situations where one party is eligible to receive spousal support payments, there are ways to ensure that the court order is being enforced. What could be challenging in this situation is if one party lives in a foreign jurisdiction where an Ontario court order may not be supported.

As outlined on the attorney general webpage for Ontario, certain countries have entered into an arrangement with our province to enforce spousal support orders. Which means that an Ontario court order could follow a particular spouse – whether they are receiving or paying the amounts – across countries. The same relationship exists the other way. If a divorced or separated spouse from other country comes to Ontario with a foreign spousal support order, this foreign order can be enforced here if the country is one participating in the “reciprocating jurisdiction” arrangement.

You can view details of the program here. Some of the participating jurisdictions include Germany and the United Kingdom.

If you are a payor or payee and have questions about enforcing a court order for spousal support payments – whether you live in Ontario or abroad - it’s best advised to consult with an experienced family lawyer. He or she can help you identify what your legal options are based on the countries involved and the details of the order.

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