1. Learn about family law and spousal support

Beware of scams

People have been getting phone calls with a pre-recorded message telling them their Ontario Works account has been deleted.

This is a scam to trick you into sharing your personal information. If you get a call like that, hang up the phone. You can report these calls to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

Ontario Works (OW) uses the family law definition of spouse in their rules about support payments.

These rules say that OW can require you to make “reasonable efforts” to get from someone who is or was your spouse as defined by family law.

OW uses a different definition to decide if you’re eligible for assistance.

Family law definition of “spouse”

In family law, a spouse is someone of the same or opposite sex who:

  • you're to
  • you've been living with as a couple for at least 3 years
  • you've been living with, in what the law calls “a relationship of some permanence”, and the two of you have a child together

To decide if you're in “a relationship of some permanence”, the law considers many things. Some of these things could be:

  • whether you live together
  • your personal and sexual habits
  • how you behave with each other in public
  • whether you support each other or your children financially
  • whether other people see you as a couple

What spousal support is and who pays it

When you and your partner separate or divorce, you might be able to get spousal support.

The law says you're expected to try to support yourself. But sometimes you can get spousal support from your partner if they earn more than you do.

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