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  • Writer's pictureM Finkelstein

What are compensatory and noncompensatory factors in a divorce in British Columbia?

In the context of spousal support, compensatory and non-compensatory factors are used to assess the entitlement and amount of support.


  1. Compensatory factors: These are factors that recognize the contributions or sacrifices made by one spouse to the other during the relationship or marriage. They include:

  • Career Sacrifice: If one spouse gave up educational or career opportunities to support the other spouse's career or to raise children.

  • Education and Training: If one spouse supported the other through education or training, thereby impacting their ability to earn income.

  • Caregiving and Homemaking: Contributions made by one spouse in terms of caregiving, homemaking, or supporting the other spouse's career advancement.

  • Childcare: If one spouse primarily took responsibility for childcare, allowing the other spouse to focus on their career.

  1. Non-compensatory factors: These are factors that focus more on the economic consequences of the marriage breakdown and the respective financial positions of the spouses. They include:

  • Income Disparity: Disparity in income and earning capacity between the spouses.

  • Financial Need: Financial need arising from the marriage breakdown, especially if one spouse is economically disadvantaged.

  • Standard of Living: The standard of living established during the marriage and the ability of each spouse to maintain that standard post-separation.

  • Duration of Marriage: The length of the marriage, as longer marriages may warrant greater support.

  • Age and Health: The age and health of each spouse, particularly if one spouse is in poor health or nearing retirement age.

Both compensatory and non-compensatory factors are considered by courts when determining spousal support entitlement and the appropriate amount to be paid. The specific weight given to each factor may vary depending on the circumstances of the case and the applicable laws in the jurisdiction.

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