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Date: 12 Dec, 2019

One’s entitlement to support from an estranged spouse or common law partner is governed either by the Divorce Act or the Family Law Act. After death, a dependent that has not been properly looked after by the deceased in their Will may bring an application for dependent relief under the Succession Law Reform Act. In most circumstances, if a party is a dependent of a deceased that failed to make such a provision, they may commence an action under the Succession Law Reform Act for dependency relief. One cannot contract out of that obligation unlike the right to receive spousal support under both the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act.

The courts have held on a number of occasions the purpose of a dependent support order under the Succession Law Reform Act is significantly different than the purpose of a spousal support order under the Divorce Act. One needs to start with the decision in Cummings² a 2004 decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal and the decision in Phillips- Renwick vs. Renwick Estate a 2003 trial decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

While support if bared under a valid agreement can be waived one cannot contract out of the entitlement to dependent relief under the Succession Law Reform Act.