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.
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 from 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.