Navigating the intricacies of family law in Ontario can be a complex journey, especially when it comes to matters of child support and spousal support. One crucial aspect that often raises questions is how child support impacts spousal support. In this article, we’ll explore the relationship between these two forms of support and shed light on the key considerations for individuals dealing with family law matters in Ontario.

Child Support’s Impact on Spousal Support

Child support and spousal support are distinct legal obligations, each serving its unique purpose in the context of family law. Child support is intended to provide financial assistance for the upbringing of children and is calculated based on specific guidelines outlined in the federal Child Support Guidelines. Spousal support, on the other hand, is designed to address the economic consequences of the breakdown of a marriage or common-law relationship. It’s important to note that child support always takes precedence over spousal support in Ontario.

Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines

To determine the appropriate amount and duration of spousal support, Ontario courts often refer to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG). The SSAG are not legislated, unlike the Child Support Guidelines, but are influential tools that provide guidance to lawyers, judges, and individuals involved in spousal support matters. While not binding, the SSAG have gained widespread acceptance as a valuable resource for assessing spousal support in a fair and consistent manner.

The SSAG take various factors into account, including the length of the marriage or cohabitation, the financial means and needs of each spouse, and any special circumstances that may be relevant. However, it is crucial to emphasize that the presence of child support obligations significantly influences the calculation of spousal support.

Interconnected Calculations

When determining spousal support, the courts will consider the payor’s income after accounting for any child support payments. The logic is to ensure that the financial needs of the children are met before addressing the spousal support obligations. Therefore, the amount of child support paid can directly affect the available income for calculating spousal support.


In Ontario, the interplay between child support and spousal support is a critical aspect of family law. Child support obligations always take precedence, as the well-being of children is a top priority. Understanding the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines and the interconnected nature of these support obligations is essential for individuals navigating the complexities of family law in Ontario. Seeking legal advice from a qualified family law professional can provide personalized insights and guidance tailored to individual circumstances.

If you need help to settle your child and spousal support matters, contact us at Sudano Law PC. Our team of experienced child and spousal support lawyers are versed in matters such as determining spouse eligibility and calculating child and spousal support payments. With over a decade of experience in family law, we can give you the best advice possible to help you and your family move forward.

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