Our Spousal Maintenance Lawyers Answer Your FAQS About Spousal Support
When marriages or even de facto relationships break down, there are circumstances where one party may not be able to support themselves and meet their own financial needs. This may result in entitlements to spousal maintenance. We are often asked questions concerning spousal support, so here are our top FAQs answered by our spousal maintenance lawyers.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Under the Family Law Act 1975, either you or an ex-partner might be liable to financially maintain the other person after either separation or divorce if the other person is unable to adequately support themselves. Spousal maintenance is not gender-specific and can be claimed by the husband, wife or either party in same-sex couples.
What Are My Entitlements?
If you are either separated or divorced from your spouse or separated from a de facto partner after March 1, 2009, you may be entitled to receive financial support.
A party will only be able to receive spousal maintenance if they cannot support themselves, and the ex-partner has the financial capacity to contribute. The party seeking maintenance may not be able to adequately support themselves for the following reasons:
- Having to care for a child from the marriage under the age of 18 years;
- Inability to gain employment by reason of age or physical or mental incapacity; or
- For any other adequate reason.
Spousal Maintenance is different from Child Support and Adult Child Maintenance and might be payable in addition to these schemes. If you are uncertain of your entitlements, it is best to speak to spousal maintenance lawyers like our team here at Pullos.
How Do I Apply for Spousal Maintenance
It is best for both parties to reach an agreement outside of court before applying for spousal maintenance, also known as a pre-action procedure. Each party can choose to have spousal maintenance lawyers present, working with them as mediators or in collaborative practice. If both parties reach an agreement during this procedure, an application for consent orders must be filed. If there is no agreement, an application for spousal maintenance can be made to the court. Spousal maintenance lawyers, like Pullos, can assist with any court application paperwork.
Is There a Time Limit?
Although you can apply for spousal maintenance any time after your separation, there are time limits. You can apply if you have decided to separate but have not left the property, once you have separated or any time after. An application must be made within one year after the divorce for married couples and two years from the date the de facto relationship ended.
How Much Spousal Maintenance Should Be Paid?
There is no set amount for spousal maintenance, however, if the parties cannot reach an agreement, the party with potential entitlement can make an application to the Family Court. Here, both parties are assessed based on either their financial need or financial capacity. According to our spousal maintenance lawyers, the court will also consider "reasonable" day-to-day expenses of both parties, including but not limited to the following:
- The capacity for employment;
- The income, property and financial resources of both parties;
- Whether either party is the primary carer for the child;
- What is considered a reasonable standard of living;
- The length of the relationship and what extent it has affected the earning capacity of the applicant;
- Any financial agreements between the parties.
How is Spousal Maintenance Paid?
According to our spousal maintenance lawyers, a payment can be made in a variety of ways:
- One-off lump sum amount;
- Regular payments for a specific period, for example, weekly, fortnightly or monthly; and/or
- Expenses such as accommodation, vehicle costs, health insurance, loan repayments or other household expenses.
How Long Am I Required to Make Payments?
The term of payments is generally determined on a case-by-case basis. Payments can either run for an indefinite period of time or a specific period of time with a set end date. Alternatively, spousal maintenance will end if the person entitled to support incurs improvements to their financial situation. Examples of financial improvement include marrying again or entering a new de facto relationship. It also ends if one’s earning capabilities improve.
Can Spousal Maintenance Lawyers at Pullos Help Me?
Our team of experienced spousal maintenance lawyers can advise you on both making or defending a spousal maintenance application. We also have experience in Divorce Law, Property Settlement and Mediation. Get in touch with our spousal maintenance lawyers in Brisbane or the Gold Coast today via email, or on (07) 5526 3646.