After the 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.
The primary purpose of spousal maintenance is to adjust for any disparity between the incomes or earning capacities of spouses based on their respective needs.
Under section 72 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) for married couples or section 205ZD(3) of the Family Court Act 1997 (WA) for de facto couples, a spousal maintenance liability may arise when partner A is unable to adequately support themselves following separation (for an adequate reason) and partner B has a capacity to support the other.
Spousal maintenance is different to that of child support which refers to payments that are made directly to support the child/ren.
Bodekers Family Lawyers & Mediators can advise you on the broad framework which is applied in determining spousal maintenance claims relevant to you, which typically relates to the need of partner A, balanced with the ability of partner B to pay.
Only if partner A has a need and partner B has the ability to pay, should a spousal maintenance order be made.
Bodekers Family Lawyers & Mediators can further 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.
We invite you to provide everything you would like to tell our lawyers during your first appointment, as well as any questions you have. Some of the information that may be useful could include:
- The age and state of health of each party;
- The income, property and financial resources of each party;
- The mental and physical capacity of each party for gainful employment;
- Whether either party has the care or control of a child;
- Commitments of each party that are necessary to support themselves and a child or other person they have a duty to maintain;
- The eligibility to receive a pension, allowance or benefit;
- A comparison of the difference in standard during the relationship to after separation for each party;
- Whether spousal maintenance would enable you to undertake education or training to re-establish yourself;
- The duration of the relationship and the effect this has had on your earning capacity;
- If either party is cohabiting with another person, details of that cohabitation;
- Any child support arrangements; and
- Any other relevant fact or circumstance.