Family Law – What is Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance forms an important bridge for married couples, de facto couples and families undergoing separation. There are bound to be hurdles and complications while transitioning from a long-term married or de facto relationship, and carrying the burden is a shared responsibility that needs to benefit everyone. Spousal maintenance applications are lodged with the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court in Australia, and can be overseen by Taylor & Scott Family Law experts.

What is spousal maintenance for?

Spousal maintenance is financial support a person provides to their former spouse. In today’s society, de facto partner maintenance is also sometimes called spousal maintenance, although there are differences that need to be understood, such as:

  • Marriage is proven with a marriage license and marriage ceremony
  • De facto relationship status is reliant on significant proof from various sources
  • Marriage is immediate and incontrovertible, whereas a de facto relationship isn’t
  • A new marriage nullifies an existing will, whereas a de facto relationship may not
  • De facto partners work within fixed property settlement time frames

When assessing your eligibility for spousal maintenance payments, the Courts take the circumstances of yourself, your former spouse, and any children involved into consideration. In most cases, a spousal maintenance agreement can be drafted with oversight of qualified Taylor & Scott Family Law professionals, and if negotiations are required, we are ready to help you stand up for your rights.

What is Spousal Maintenance

What is the highest amount I could receive for spousal maintenance?

The amount you receive is assessed by the Court, and the judgement is legally binding. If you require spousal maintenance during the transition to separation, you may qualify depending on the financial means of your ex-spouse. Maintenance payments are designed for fairness, and if your former spouse doesn’t have the required financial resources, you won’t be able to claim.

A lot of factors are considered in both lawyer-assisted spousal maintenance agreements and court ordered spousal maintenance payments. The amount you receive is evaluated from information you provide, including:

  • Your finances and assets
  • Your former spouse’s finances and assets
  • Shared assets between you and your former spouse
  • The financial and other contributions you made during marriage
  • The needs of any children or dependents as a result of the marriage

How long do I have to pay spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance bridges the financial gap for people transitioning to separation, and is usually only paid for a relatively short period of time. Spousal maintenance applications must be made within 12 months of a divorce being finalised, while de facto partners have 2 years to make an application after the breakdown of a relationship.

Spousal maintenance payments make a big difference for people waiting for finalisation of a property settlement. The payments may also continue for a defined time after settlement. Spousal maintenance payments are usually regular amounts, although lump sum payments are possible in some circumstances. Contact the helpful staff at Taylor & Scott Lawyers if you require direction to potentially maximise spousal maintenance payments.

What is the application process for spousal maintenance?

Applying for spousal maintenance is relatively straight-forward. In Australia, we have a ‘no fault’ divorce system to avoid convoluted legal proceedings while sorting out important financial matters. Decisions are made according to evidence provided, including accurate financial statements from both parties. Concealing or withholding important financial information relevant to the case is illegal, with punishments likely for offenders.

Both parties must first attempt to reach an agreement outside of court, including pre-action procedures under professional guidance. Taylor & Scott Family Law experts will help you draft a formal agreement with your ex-spouse, assist you in compiling a convincing case, or support you in court if your rights are challenged.

At Taylor & Scott, We Care For You.