Spousal Maintenance

In some circumstances, orders can be obtained from the either the Family Court or Federal Circuit Court that requires one party pay a sum of money, by way of a periodic payment (and sometimes a lump sum) to the other party to help fund their reasonable living expenses.

Under the Family Law Act, an award of spousal maintenance requires first that the court makes a threshold finding and, second, that it exercises its power under the Act. At both stages, consideration of an extensive list of factors must be determined.

This simply means that in order to make such Orders, the court must be satisfied of the following:

a. That the Applicant is unable to financially support themselves or to the extent necessary to fund their existence (usually because of having been out of the workforce or are looking after children in their primary care); and
b. That the Applicant cannot do anything else at this particular stage either urgently or in the interim to meet the gap in between their income and reasonable living expenses; and
c. That the Respondent has the capacity to meet the gap as well as their own reasonable living expenses.

The court must take into consideration a whole raft of factors in making a decision about whether the Applicant’s claim has merit and orders should be made accordingly, and to what extent or at what level. Those are what family lawyers often call the ‘future needs’ or ‘Section 75(2)’ factors, which include such things as the parties’ ages, state of health, incomes, earning capacities, commitments to a child of the relationship, etc.

At Taylor & Scott “ We Care For You.”