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Spousal maintenance is often confused or likened to Child Support, however, spousal maintenance relates only to support of your former partner only.
You may have a responsibility to financially support your ex-partner after separation or divorce.
In Queensland, de facto partners may well have no right to maintenance if they separated before March 1, 2009. New legislation since this time means that this is not the case if you separated after this date. Your future needs can be considered when the property is divided.
In most cases, it should be remembered that the Courts require you make an effort to resolve disputes before you come to the Court. We can assist with dispute resolution services. If you cannot agree, you can apply to the Court for a financial order.
Protect your immediate financial needs and your financial future
Under the Family Law Act in Australia, both spouses have a duty to support and maintain each other, even after you have separated or divorced.
For a Court to make an Order that one spouse financially supports the other for a period of time the following factors need to be weighed:
- Whether one spouse (the Applicant) is unable to adequately meet his or her own reasonable financial needs. This means their income (excluding any Centrelink pension) does not amount to their reasonable expense; and
- The other spouse (the Respondent) has the capacity to pay. This means that the Respondent’s income exceeds their reasonable expenses.
This is usually obtained through the parties filing out a Financial Statement for the Court prior to attending.
When deciding any financial disputes after separation, the Court the principles set out in Sections 79(4) and 75(2) of the Family Law Act 1975 to determine what other factors need to be considered in dividing property.
This means that the judicial officer hearing the matter (usually a Registrar and sometimes a Judge) will try to decide the basis of what is most fair and equitable, considering the following information obtained from both spouses):
- Your property, financial resources, income and debts
- Whether the children live with you or your former spouse
- Your age and health (which helps define your future financial requirements and timeframe in which you can earn further income and superannuation)
- Your ability to earn, and whether this has been affected by the relationship
- What is considered to be a suitable standard of living?
James Noble Law Lawyers are Australian Family Lawyers located in Brisbane, specialising in many areas of Family Law, including Spousal Maintenance.
Spousal maintenance is not automatically granted and is often considered alongside an overall settlement of financial matters between former couples.
Applications for spousal maintenance must be lodged within 12 months of a divorce. Later applications require leave (considered permission) of the court, but this is not always granted.
To make an appointment please call us on 1800 662 535
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