spousal maintenance

What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance (or support) is when one party pays an amount of money periodically to help financially support their partners because they are unable to adequately support themselves. However, this is not an automatic right.

Under the Family Law Act, a person has a responsibility to financially assist their spouse, if that person cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their own income or assets. This can be a regular payment directly to the spouse to the other. It can also be payment of expenses, such as the mortgage repayments, utility bills, health insurance costs and other household expenses.

Where relevant, both parties to a marriage or a relationship have an obligation to support and maintain each other as much as they can for as long as they can.  This obligation can continue even after separation and/or divorce. The extent of the support will vary and depends on the financial ability of the other party.

What does a court consider?

When deciding on a maintenance application, a court will consider the needs of the applicant and the respondent’s capacity to pay. A court considers the following about both parties:

  • age and health;
  • income, property, and financial resources;
  • ability to work ;
  • the need to support children of the relationship;
  • what is a suitable standard of living, and/or
  • if the marriage/relationship has affected your ability to earn an income.

The court will also takes into consideration, the living arrangements of any children of the marriage.

What about de-facto partners?

The law has recently changed to include claims from de-facto couples for spousal maintenance. Laws relating to De Facto couples may vary between states. Antwan Family Lawyers Sydney can provide you with sound advice about your entitlements, if you are or were in a De Facto relationship. Please contact us on 02 8777 5597 today. For further information about De Facto Matters, please click here.

What if I start a new relationship?

You may not be entitled to spouse maintenance if you remarry and/or if you start a new De Facto relationship. In those circumstances, the (relevant) court will take into consideration the financial relationship between you and your new partner when considering whether you are able to support yourself adequately.

Is there a time limit for applications for spousal maintenance?

Applications for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of a divorce becoming final. If you do not apply within this time, you will need special permission of a court. This is not always granted.

What we can do for you

Antwan Family Lawyers can provide you with sensible advice about any entitlements that you may have for spousal maintenance whether you were married or in a de-facto relationship.

Contact us today on 1300ANTWAN – 1300 268 926 to discuss your possible entitlements.