The starting point for spousal maintenance is section 72 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (the Act). Under section 72 of the Act, one party is liable to financially support the other party, if that one party is reasonably able to do so as the other party is unable to support himself or herself. Instances where a party may be required to support to the other party include:
- The other party will be caring for a child under the age of eighteen (18) of the relationship;
- The other party is unable to gain adequate employment due to age, physical or mental incapacity; or
- Any other adequate reason.
Due to the availability of child support, an Order for Spousal Maintenance (in addition to child support) are rather rare; that said, there have been many instances where parties have been able to successfully obtain orders for spousal maintenance. Our Family Lawyers can provide advice on your individual circumstances and look at the options available to you.
The key underlying the right to spousal maintenance depends on the need of one party and the capacity of the other. For instance, if one party was unable to financially support their lifestyle due to mental capacity; but at the same time, the other party was financially unstable, Spousal Maintenance may not be ordered.
Spousal Maintenance is also available for de facto relationships that break down on or after 1 March 2009 – De Facto Spousal Maintenance. Parties must apply within two (2) years of the end of the de facto relationship.
With married couples, applications for Spousal Maintenance must be made within twelve (12) months of the grant of divorce. If you want to make a claim and fall outside of these time limits, you may in some cases and depending on the circumstances, still be able to make a claim if you obtain permission from the court. You should of course seek legal advice to assess your situation and determine if you have reasonable prospects of success in obtaining permission from the court. The Family Lawyers at Navado Lawyers & Solicitors can assist and provide you with the relevant advice.
When an application for spousal maintenance goes before the court, under section 74 of the Act, the court is given a wide power to make orders as it considers proper for the provision of maintenance in the situation. Section 75 of the Act lists a number of factors to be taken into consideration by the court when assessing an application for Spousal Maintenance. Examples of such factors may include:
- The age of each party;
- Income, property and other financial resources of each party;
- Physical and mental capacity of each party to gain appropriate employment; or
- Commitments of each party.
Our Family Lawyers have extensive experience in spousal maintenance matters. If you wish to make an appointment to see us at our head office in Sydney CBD, contact us by telephone on (02) 9233 4048 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, we may see you in one of our branch offices located in the Sydney metropolitan area. For a complete list of our branch offices, please peruse our "Locations" tab.
This webpage (and any material or wording appearing on this webpage) is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute any Legal Advice. It does not take into account your objectives, your instructions or all of the relevant facts and/or circumstances. Navado accepts no responsibility to any person who relies on the information provided on this website. We further refer you to our Disclaimer.
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