When is a request for retroactive child and spousal support considered?

Prince Edward Island, Canada

The following excerpt is from S.K.M. v. F.E.M., 2012 PECA 3 (CanLII):

Cromwell J. points out at paragraph 207 of his reasons in Kerr v. Baranow these factors should be considered in "… deciding the suitability of a 'retroactive' award of spousal support." He went on to make it clear that child support and spousal support have a "different legal foundation." While concerns about lack of notice and delay have minimum impact where the request is for retroactive child support, these factors deserve more consideration when the application is for retroactive spousal support. Where the paying spouse takes the position the receiving spouse should have made the request earlier, the underlying interests for the consideration of the court are first, the need for the payor to have certainty surrounding his obligations and the need to create incentives for the receiving spouse to seek the required variation in support expeditiously. At paragraph 208 and 209 Cromwell J. stated:

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