If you have had a break down of a marriage or a de facto relationship then you may need a spousal maintenance order. The circumstances that lead to having an order made is when one of the partners within the relationship has circumstances that lead to them to not being able to adequately support themselves.
There are many factors that are looked at before ordering a spousal maintenance order, as well as a set deadline of time that can pass between the separation and divorce and filing for spousal maintenance. Knowing your rights and the law is important for your own protection.
De facto spouse maintenance is financial support paid by a party to a de facto relationship that has broken down to their former de facto partner in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves.
The Family Court or Federal Circuit Court can deal with spouse maintenance applications. Essentially, the extent of the support depends on the following:
One spouse (the applicant) is unable to adequately meet his or her own reasonable needs; and The other spouse (the respondent) has the capacity to pay.
When deciding any financial disputes after a divorce, the Court bases its decisions on the general principles set out in Sections 79(4)FLA and 75(2) of the Family Law
Act 1975. In summary, the judicial officer will try to decide on what is most fair and equitable, based on the following information (for both spouses):
Spousal maintenance can be ordered to be paid as periodic payments or a lump sum. In making property orders, it is usual to specify whether any and what amount is paid as spousal maintenance [ Family Law Act 1975 s 77A ]. These orders bring claims for maintenance to an end.
Spousal maintenance orders generally continue until remarriage or death. Maintenance may also end other circumstances, such as:
Applications for spouse maintenance if you are a party to a marriage must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final.
Applications for de facto spouse maintenance must be made within 2 years of the breakdown of your de facto relationship.
If you do not apply within these time limits, you will need special permission of a court. This is not always granted.