In certain circumstances, separating couples may have an obligation to provide ongoing financial payments, whether by way of weekly or lump sum payments, to their former spouse or de facto partner. There is no automatic right to, or presumption of, spousal maintenance and much will depend on your unique circumstances.
The Family Law Act provides that one party to a relationship is liable to maintain the other party in circumstances where one spouse is unable to adequately meet his or her own reasonable needs; and the other spouse has the capacity to pay maintenance after meeting their own reasonable needs.
There are different arrangements for the payment of spousal maintenance that can be put in place either by agreement between the parties, or as a result of a Court Order. Payments may be made periodically or as a lump-sum, or may involve one party directly paying expenses for the other.
There are a number of factors which the Court can consider in determining whether one party is able to adequately support themselves such as care and control of the children, the age and state of health of one of the parties, or where a party may not be able to obtain appropriate gainful employment.
It is important to remember that, even if one party is unable to adequately support themselves, then the other party is only liable to support that party so far as they are reasonably able to do so. The Family Law Act specifically precludes a Court from including any government benefits in determining the level of income of a party applying for maintenance.
Applications for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of a Divorce Order becoming effective or within 2 years of the date of separation if you were in a de facto relationship.
Contact our Brisbane Spousal Maintenance Lawyer for Legal Help
Spousal maintenance is an extremely detailed and technical area of law, requiring expert legal advice. Our spousal maintenance lawyer and family lawyers in Brisbane, Toowoomba & Ipswich can help to determine spousal maintenance issues in your particular circumstances.