Are you entitled to spousal maintenance?

Date: Apr 30, 2012

If you and your partner have recently separated and you fear that financial hardship could soon become a problem, then it might be worth seeking family law advice in relation to spousal maintenance.

There are various processes you will need to go through to even be considered for this type of support, with the first step usually being a consultation with a family lawyer.

Spousal maintenance essentially involves one person providing financial assistance for their former husband or wife or de facto partner, whom provisions are made for under the Family Law Act.

If one party needs support after divorce or separation, then they can apply for a court order for their former partner to provide some financial help.

However, it is important to remember that the court will consider the capacity of the other spouse to make the payments when the court considers the application.

The Court will consider a number of factors in a spouse maintenance application. If your mental or physical capacity restricts your ability to work, therefore meaning you cannot sustain your current lifestyle. If another plausible reason is put forward then this will also be considered.

Before a decision can be made, you will be required to disclose a range of information, including details of your property, income, debts and other finances.

It is likewise important for your age and health to be taken into consideration, alongside how able you are to earn a living and whether or not this has been affected by the end of your marriage.

You will also be asked to assess what suitable standard of living you are able to support in light of your recent separation and the funds you need to sustain it.

In most situations, these matters will be resolved outside the courtroom using mediation services, but there are instances where the case needs to be heard by a Family Court or the Federal Magistrates Court.

Anyone who is thinking about filing an application for spousal support needs to do so within 12 months of their divorce being finalised, as cases will only usually be considered within this period.

A special application needs to be made if a year has already passed.