Spousal Maintenance

Spousal Maintenance

From experience, we know that the period of time immediately after separation or divorce can not only be difficult emotionally, but also financially. Your day-to-day living costs often increase, and income is reduced, or temporarily impacted. Worse still, you may have relied on your partner or spouses’ income during the relationship and that has now gone.

It is not uncommon in a relationship to have one primary income earner while the other partner has a small income, or none at all. If you can’t adequately meet your reasonable financial needs, it is possible to seek financial support from your ex-partner. This is known as spousal maintenance.

When considering payment of spousal maintenance, the Court will need to determine two factors: 

  1. That one party has the financial need to be supported 
  2. That the other has the ability to pay.

Can I Get Spousal Maintenance Payments?

There are a number of considerations that the Court takes into account when making a decision. These include:

  • your age
  • health
  • income
  • your living expenses
  • the amount of property and financial resources shared between you and your former partner 
  • your ability to work, now and in the future
  • determining what is a suitable standard of living
  • if the relationship or its breakdown have affected your ability to earn an income
  • child support and custody matters

The Court’s assessment of your reasonable needs on a week to week basis will vary depending on your particular circumstances. These include expenses such as rent or mortgage payments, car loan payments, groceries, petrol and car expenses, insurance, medical costs, telephone, internet, children’s  expenses, household maintenance, electricity, gas and water.

It’s important when considering what you want your former partner to pay that your costs listed must be ‘needs’, not unrealistic ‘desires’.  As divorce specialists we will professionally advise you on what is appropriate and realistic to ask for in your individual situation.

The Court will also take into account the living arrangements and associated costs for your children who are under 18 years of age.

How Long Do Spousal Maintenance Payments Last?

The length of time that spousal maintenance is paid will also vary depending on your circumstances. Often it may only be for a short period of time, until either a property settlement has been agreed on, or until you have the chance to find or return to work and have an income. Our family law expertise will help you negotiate the right spousal payments for your particular situation and needs.

As with any property settlement, the court imposes time limits you can apply for spousal maintenance. Do not delay in calling our office to discuss how to have our family lawyers apply your circumstances.

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