Spouse maintenance is an important consideration in many family law matters. Spouse maintenance may be required to be paid by either partner in a marriage or defacto relationship, where one party is unable to support themselves.
When a relationship ends the Family law Act provides for financial assistance to be provided to a defacto partner or spouse where they are not able to support themselves from their own assets or income.
This obligation can apply equally to both parties, and can continue after separation and divorce, but does not continue for life. In fact it can be for quite a short period in some cases, sufficient to allow the beneficiary party to retrain and seek employment. If you are contemplating seeking spousal maintenance and were married, you have 12 months from the date of the divorce; if you were in a defacto relationship you have 2 years from the time the relationship broke down.
It is important to note that spousal maintenance is not automatic and any assessment will include the respective resources and income earning capacity of both parties, as well as their ability to afford to pay, the gap between earnings, standard of living, children (including special needs), standard of living, age, health, and ability to work.
- You must apply for spouse maintenance within 12 months of you divorce being finalised, or 24 months of the breakdown of a defacto relationship.
- Spouse maintenance is not for an unlimited period, it is normally to assist the receiving party to transition to employment.
- It is not an automatic entitlement, can take some time to resolve, and the sooner you start the process the better.
- CALL ALLIANCE FAMILY LAW ON 02 6223 2400 AND LET US HELP YOU.