A spouse maintenance is a financial support given to a former partner
Separations are a messy business. It is painful and traumatic. Add to that the worry for the future and what it will hold. Perhaps the most uncertain in a relationship is the homemaker or the partner who stays at home to care for the children and the house. Without a job or an income, the homemaker in a de facto relationship is hit the hardest.
This is where the law comes in. The Family Law Act, specifically Section 90SE, provides protection to a homemaker in a de facto relationships by allowing applications for the issuance of a spousal maintenance order by the court.
A spouse maintenance is a financial support given to a former partner in a de facto relationship who cannot adequately support himself/herself. In an application for spouse maintenance, the first thing that needs to be proven is the existence of a de facto relationship. Section 4AA of the Family Law Act 1975 defines a de facto relationship as:
- two people not married;
- not related by family;
- live together on a genuine domestic basis.
Once the existence of a de facto relationship has been established, the homemaker must set out to prove that he/she is qualified and entitled to a spouse maintenance. The person applying for spousal support must remember that an application will not be granted automatically by the court. The court, based on the Family Law Act Section 90SB, will only issue an order if it is satisfied that at least one of the following conditions exists:
- a relationship was of at least two years duration;
- there is a child of the relationship;
- applicant made substantial contributions to the relationship and a serious injustice; would result to the applicant if an order is not made;
- the relationship is or was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory.
When determining the extent of the spousal maintenance these are some of the factors that will be considered of both parties:
- Age and health
- Income, property and financial resources
- Ability to work
- Suitable standard of living
- If the relationship has affected
In all instances, it would be best to consider hiring a lawyer who can make sure that all requirements and that your best interests are communicated to the court.
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.