After separation of a marriage or de facto relationship, in some situations a spouse may be entitled to receive (or may be required to pay) spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance may be payable in circumstances where one partner is unable to adequately support themselves following separation.
Spousal maintenance may be necessary to adjust for any disparity between the incomes of spouses based on their respective needs. Spousal maintenance is usually only paid for a relatively short period of time. Spousal maintenance is often intended to enable a spouse to retrain, enter the workforce or re-establish themselves.
There is a time limit in place with regards to applications for spousal maintenance. For married couples there is a limit of 12 months from the date your divorce becomes final. In situations involving de facto relationships the application must be made within 2 years following the breakdown of the relationship. If you apply after these dates special permission will need to be granted by the Family Court.
Starting a new relationship may affect your current spousal maintenance arrangements. Re-marrying will usually relinquish your rights to receive spousal maintenance. Similarly, a party entering into a de facto relationship may result in the Family Court reconsidering previous spousal maintenance arrangements.
Bodekers Family Lawyers & Mediators can advise you as to whether you are entitled to receive, or may be liable to pay, spousal maintenance. We are also able to assist you in preparing an application or response and can represent you in the Family Court.