To compel one party to support the previous spouse, the court may issue a consent order based on some special considerations. Although spousal maintenance is one significant obligation in post-separation proceedings, the court will only issue an order by reason of having the custody of the child, mental or physical incapacity of the other spouse which makes her incapable of supporting herself, and for any other adequate reasons.
If the couples were living in a de facto relationship, the court will assess the viability of spousal maintenance based on the period of the relationship, involvement of a child, and substantial contribution of the other party to his spouse when they were still living together. In order for a de facto relationship to be feasible for a spousal maintenance, it is important that they have cohabited for at least two years.
Not all couples are able to obtain spousal support. Instances such as starting a new relationship after divorce may sever the viability of spousal maintenance. Hence, when a divorced spouse enters into a new relationship, the court may no longer issue an order provided that the new relationship has adequate means to live.
In issuing maintenance orders, the court will also assess the capability of the ordered spouse to support the other. It is important to establish that the other party is able to afford the obligations demanded by the other spouse. In this case, the court will examine the living standards of both parties and check on the financial capacity of the other party to support the latter. When applying for maintenance orders, it is also worth noting that parties can only apply within 12 months after the grant of divorce decree or legal separation.
The fall down of marriage or de facto relationship is one the most difficult challenges couples may face. Most couples do not only struggle with their financial obligations towards each other in post-divorce processes but also in coping up with the emotional cost.