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25
Aug

Working of spousal maintenance in Australia

People might ask “what is spousal maintenance?”, the answer is quite simple: it is a financial assistance given by one ex-partner to the other if they are financially unstable. 

There are two types of spousal maintenance, the Family court or the Federal court deals with them. 

  1. Spouse maintenance: One person gives this financial support to his or her former husband/wife. Their previous partner gives them financial assistance. 
  2. De facto partner maintenance: If a couple is no longer in the de facto relationship, then one may give financial assistance to other partners. 

The family law Act 1975 states that a person is responsible for assisting the former de facto partner financially if he cannot meet his expenses. https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019C00182

What are the critical factors in the court’s decisions:

Before making a decision, the court checks the applicant’s needs and the financial stability of the respondent. The following are essential factors for both persons:

  1. Age and health
  2. Yearly income, current property and financial resources
  3. Can the applicant work?
  4. Standard of living
  5. Has the marriage affected financial status?
  6. Are they supporting any other person? 
  7. Do any of the parties have social security benefits?
  8. How much one has contributed to the financial state of the other.
  9. How much has the relationship affected the earning of the applicant?
  10. Are there any possibilities for child support payment?
  11. Do the parties have any financial agreements between them?

You can see section 75(2) (married) and for de facto check 90SF (de facto) to know more.
(Source: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019C00182)

Can I have spouse maintenance if I was in a de facto relationship?

If you were in a de facto relationship, and now you want to apply for spouse maintenance then give a read to De facto property regime page it is on the Attorney-General’s website. You will know whether you are eligible for spousal support or not.
(Source: https://www.ag.gov.au/families-and-marriage/families/de-facto-property-regime)

The law is different for people living in Western Australia. You should visit the website of the Family court of Western Australia. 

(Source: https://www.familycourt.wa.gov.au/)

What is the procedure of spousal maintenance?

It is good to have an agreement with your spouse before applying for spousal maintenance. If there is no agreement, then you can use Federal Circuit Court. You will have to submit your income and expenses details in a financial statement when applying. The spouse will follow the procedure. 

If there is an urgent need for financial assistance, then the court may order for immediate payment. 

Spousal maintenance Australia: calculator

Every applicant has a question in mind that “How much is spousal maintenance?”. Well, there is no fixed amount, but the court follows a procedure. We have tried to explain it below. 

The court will check the financial condition of the applicant and the capacity of the spousal, after that the court will make a judgement about the payable amount. There is no formula for calculating spousal maintenance. The court assumes the day to day expenses of the applicant and the respondent, and then it will be decided whether to pay the spousal support or not if it is payable then how much. 

If the applicant is responsible for taking care of the child or children below the school-age, then the court will not ask you to work as the children will need full attention. But, once the children reach the school-age, you will need to work unless you do not have some other responsibilities. 

Will I receive spousal maintenance if I am in a new relationship?

If you marry a new person, then you will not get spousal maintenance, unless ordered by the court. See section 82 for more information. (Source: https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2019C00182)

If you are in a new de facto relationship, then the court will consider your financial status and of your new partner and will make an original decision according to that. 

When should I apply?

The deadline for applying is different for both conditions. Suppose you were married and had a divorce. Then you should apply within 12 months from the date of the separation. In the case of a de facto relationship, there are two years for using

If you are unable to apply within time, you can have special permission from the court for using even after the time. But, you will not get this chance if you don’t have a valid reason for the late submitting of the application. 

Do I need to have a lawyer for spousal maintenance?

You should contact experienced family lawyers when applying for spousal maintenance. 

There are many essential factors in a spousal order. Every case is different, and the conditions vary from person to person. The payable amount changes from case to case. It would help if you considered experienced family lawyers to understand your situation. 

If you are looking for spousal maintenance QLD, then Mackay family lawyers are your choice. With the help of our lawyers, we can get you spousal maintenance. 

Conclusion:

Spousal maintenance is a part of property settlement in addition to child support. It is paid for a limited time until the other party is stable to afford the expenses. In some cases, it can be permanent. We can help you to get spousal maintenance.