Spousal maintenance

In cases of separation and divorce, the issue of Spousal Maintenance may arise. Spousal Maintenance is when one person provides ongoing financial support for their former husband or wife spousal maintenance is not automatic, and often is considered as part of an overall settlement of financial matters.

Under the Family Law Act, both spouses have a duty to support and maintain each other, even after you have separated or divorced. 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 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.

It is important that both parties try to reach 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.

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.

If you have further questions about your entitlement to receive, or obligation to pay Spousal Maintenance, contact Andrew today.