Spousal Maintenance

As a result of your separation, either you or your partner may be struggling financially and cannot support yourselves.  If that’s the case it’s important that you come to an agreement about the amount of spousal maintenance.

Who is entitled to Spousal Maintenance?

The reason why you must pay or want to receive spousal maintenance may include; a long time out of paid work resulting in a lack of work skills, the need to care for the children, health issues, a lack of local employment opportunities.

In these and other situations, you or your partner may apply for spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance applies to couple who were married or in a defacto relationship.

Are there any time limits that may apply?

There is a time limit to apply for spousal maintenance.   Your application must occur within 12 months of a divorce being made final or within two years of a separation of a defacto relationship.  Outside of these defined periods, you’ll need special permission from the court. This permission is not automatically granted.

Spousal maintenance is usually paid for a period of two to three years.  This will enable you or your partner time to reskill, re-establish yourself or to find employment.

How do I know if I can get Spousal Maintenance?

It’s a two step process to work out if spousal maintenance is applicable.  The first step is determining if one party requires spousal maintenance, that is do their outgoings or living expenses exceed their income or available funds to self support.  The second step is determining whether or not the other party has the financial ability to support their estranged partner as well as themselves.  That is, do you or your ex-partner have the capacity to self-support and the ability to support the other partner?

Some factors come into account when making this spousal maintenance decision.

These include but are not limited to: –

  • Each person’s work skills, employment history,
  • Relevant education levels,
  • Your age, their age,
  • Your health, their health,
  • Your income and their income,
  • Childcare plans and time commitments,
  • A reasonable standard of living.

The court will also take into account, how much one partner can reasonably pay, after taking into account their living expenses and other financial commitments.

The Court has the discretion to decide if spousal maintenance is applicable and if so how much should be paid in each spousal maintenance case.

Right now, you probably have countless questions and arguments running through your head, like – How can I afford to meet my usual living expenses?  Why should I pay the mortgage when I’m not living there?  We weren’t married, can I get spousal maintenance?  We can answer your questions about spousal maintenance.

Would you benefit from talking to us to resolve your most immediate questions?

We will review your situation and give you the practical advice you need right now.

The answer will help determine the best course of action for you and your children.

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