The financial support provided by one party to the other after the relationship has ended, irrespective of whether you have been married or in a de facto relationship, is known as ‘spousal maintenance’. Under the Family Law Act 1975 (the Act), both parties have a duty to support and maintain each other, even after they have separated or divorced. Spousal maintenance is not automatic, and it is often considered and/or included as part of an overall settlement of the financial matters, or it can be dealt with separately.
In circumstances where one party cannot meet his or her own reasonable expenses from his or her personal income or assets, and the other party can afford to assist them after meeting their own reasonable expenses, then that party may be required to pay spousal maintenance to the other party. Spousal maintenance can be paid under a Court Order or by an agreement between the parties, and either the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court can deal with spousal maintenance matters.
What Does The Court Consider?
The Court will weigh up the respective financial positions of both parties in determining a spousal maintenance application. In particular the Court will consider factors such as the following:
- Age and state of health of the parties;
- Income, property, financial resources and debt;
- Ability of the party to work;
- Suitable standard of living; and
- If the marriage has affected either party’s ability to earn an income.
- If either party has primary care for any children of the marriage or de facto relationship (under 18 years of age or adult children who are disabled).
Time Limit for Application
Spousal maintenance is not automatic. For married couples the party seeking to be paid spousal maintenance must make an application to the court within 12 months of the date of their divorce. For de facto couples an application must be made within 2 years of the date of the breakdown of their de facto relationship. If parties do not apply within these prescribed time limits, then they will need to seek permission from the Court to make an application, and there is no guarantee that this permission will be granted.
How We Can Help?
We have a dedicated and experienced team of family law solicitors who can assist you with your spousal maintenance matter whether you are the party seeking spousal support or whether your ex partner is making a claim against you. Our lawyers aim to achieve the best possible outcome for you and your family. Feel free to contact our team at Owen Hodge Lawyers on 1800 770 780 to have a chat with us and make an appointment.
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We offer professional and discreet family law face-to-face consultations in Wollongong and the Illawarra at a location convenient to you. To arrange a personal consultation with one of our experienced family lawyers in Wollongong, please contact Owen Hodge Lawyers on 1800 770 780 or contact us via email@example.com