4. Think about retroactive support

How much spousal support must be paid?
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4. Think about retroactive support

If you and your partner try to make a separation agreement without going to court but are not successful, the support recipient can ask for retroactive support. This means asking the court to decide on the amount of support and to order that it be back-dated.

Usually, a retroactive spousal support order can go back to the date that the support recipient gave the support payor effective notice.

Effective notice is the date the support recipient told the support payor they should pay spousal support. For example, you may have asked your partner for spousal support the day after you separated. It’s a good idea to ask for support in writing so that you have proof that you asked for it.

The court generally limits retroactive support to the past 3 years. It can be longer if the support payor hid increases in income or ignored spousal support obligations.

The court looks at things like:

  • Why was the application for support delayed?
  • How did the support recipient look after themself?
  • How has the support payor behaved during this time?
  • Will awarding retroactive support cause hardship to the support payor?

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Reviewed: November 30, 2017

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