Spousal maintenance, popularised as ‘alimony’ through the influence of American TV and media, is still a part of the Australian family law scene.
Unlike what we are led to believe in TV shows and movies, there is no automatic right to, or presumption of, spousal maintenance. Like everything in family law, it will very much depend on your unique circumstances and there are situations where separating couples may have an obligation to provide ongoing financial payments to their former spouse or de facto partner.
Maintenance can be payable in situations where one party is unable to adequately meet their own reasonable needs and the other party has the capacity to pay maintenance after meeting their own reasonable needs.
Determining who is responsible for paying maintenance will generally consider:
- care and control of any children;
- age and state of health; and
- ability to obtain appropriate and gainful employment.
It is important to note that even if one party is unable to adequately support themselves, then the party paying maintenance is only liable to support that person so far as they are reasonable able to do so.
If you are currently paying maintenance and your circumstances change it is wise to seek expert legal advice from a maintenance lawyer to determine what that could mean for your maintenance obligation.
Maintenance payments are generally made through:
- periodic payments as defined in your agreement or the Court Order;
- A lump-sum payment; or
- directly paying expenses for the other party.
Arrangements for the payment of spousal maintenance can be put in place by an agreement between the parties, or through a Court Order. Applications for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of a Divorce Order becoming effective or for de facto couples within 2 years of the date of separation.
Contact our Spousal Maintenance Lawyer for legal help
Spousal maintenance is an extremely detailed and technical area of law and absolutely requires expert legal advice. Contact our spousal maintenance lawyers Brisbane for initial advice today.