spousal maintenance how much
spousal maintenance is when one person provides ongoing financial support for their former husband or wife. under the family law act, both spouses have a duty to support and maintain each other, even after you have separated or divorced.
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) 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):
- Your income, property, financial resources and debts
- Your age and health (which determines future requirements)
- Your ability to earn, and whether this has been affected by the marriage
- What is considered to be a suitable standard of living
- Whether the children live with you or your former spouse.
- Spousal maintenance is not automatic, and often is considered as part of an overall settlement of financial matters.
It is necessary that both parties attempt to reach an agreement outside of court, before filing an application for spousal maintenance orders. When spousal maintenance applications are filed with either the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court, both parties are ordered to undergo “pre-action procedures” including participation in a dispute resolution.
In rare cases, such as situations involving urgency, child abuse, family violence or fraud, the Court may accept that it is not possible or appropriate for the pre-action procedures to be carried out.
Applications for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final. Later applications require special permission from the court, but this is not always granted.
Disclaimer : This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice. It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a family lawyer.