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    Who is a "spouse"?
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    Under the Divorce Act, only someone who is married and part of a divorce proceeding is eligible to obtain an order for support, or any other relief. As well, the two spouses must be of opposite sexes. In Ontario, however, spousal support may be ordered for people who are not married.

    Under the Family Law Act, a "spouse" means either a man or woman who are married to each other or have entered into a marriage that is void or voidable if entered into in good faith by the party making a claim. This includes polygamous marriages if celebrated in a place where such marriages are recognized as valid. The Family Law Act also considers parties who have cohabited for a set period of time with or without children. This is considered a common law marriage. A recent Ontario court decision also determined that same sex couples can be considered to have been involved in a common law marriage, and therefore may qualify for support under the Family Law Act.

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