Spousal Maintenance

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is financial assistance paid after separation from one partner to another. The purpose of spousal maintenance is so that a person can meet their expenses if their own income is unable to cover their living expenses. The application or defence of a claim for spousal maintenance typically require the help of spousal maintenance lawyer as there are many points that need to be considered to assess how much is paid.

In Australia there is a general position that that each party is responsible to support and maintain the other as far as they can.

Spousal maintenance is financial support from an ex-defacto or ex-spouse that is commonly ordered to allow one person to acquire new skills or retrain following separation. This can be ordered to give that person the ability to support themselves while they are retraining.

Applying for Spousal Maintenance

If you are unable support yourself then you may consider applying for spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is different to a property settlement. To obtain spousal maintenance following separation or divorce you will need to complete some documents that outline your financial position and also the financial position of your former partner. This will outline all your income and expenses.
Spousal maintenance is usually opposed by the other party. It can be negotiated but most people need to apply to the court to obtain a judgement or court order to receive spousal maintenance. A spousal maintenance lawyer will help you with the claim and make sure you cover each point as fully as possible to strengthen your case.
Spousal maintenance can take the form of a lump sum payment or periodic payments.
The Court considers various criteria, including but not limited to:

  • Your Health
  • Your Age
  • Your Ability to obtain employment
  • Your Income or earning capacity; and
  • Your Standard of living

Looking after a child or dependent under the age of 18 years old.

Time Limits Apply

There are also time limits that apply for when you can apply for spousal maintenance for married couples an application has to be made within 12 months of the divorce becoming final. For de facto couple it is within 2 years from the date of the breakdown of the de facto relationship.

Defending a claim for Spousal Maintenance

If you have received a request for spousal maintenance from your former spouse or de facto partner you should act swiftly to ensure that you comply with any deadlines. If you miss a certain timeframe then you could end up financially much worse off with the Court having the ability to order you to pay spousal maintenance without you being present.

If you are served with Court documents that include a request for spousal maintenance, it is vital that you respond promptly. This usually includes providing your own financial statement and supplying your financial documents to the other party’s lawyer. Your income is only one factor that goes into a spousal maintenance argument.

If you are seeking to make a claim or defend a claim for spousal maintenance our family lawyers can assist and provide clear legal advice.

Speak to a lawyer about spousal maintenance today on 1300 907 305 or complete an online enquiry form and we will get back to you promptly.

All enquiries are treated confidentially.

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