Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is an important aspect of family law in Australia. It refers to the financial support that one spouse may be required to pay to the other spouse following the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship. The purpose of spousal maintenance is to provide for the needs of the spouse who is financially disadvantaged as a result of the separation.

Factors to take into account

In Australia, spousal maintenance is governed by the Family Law Act 1975. Under the Act, a court may order spousal maintenance if one spouse is unable to support themselves adequately and the other spouse has the capacity to pay. The court will consider a range of factors in deciding whether spousal maintenance is appropriate, including the income, assets, and financial resources of each spouse, their age and health, and the standard of living they enjoyed during the relationship.

How orders can be made

Spousal maintenance can be ordered on a temporary or permanent basis. Temporary spousal maintenance is usually paid for a fixed period of time, such as until the property settlement is finalised or the recipient spouse is able to support themselves through employment or other means. Permanent spousal maintenance, on the other hand, may be ordered if the recipient spouse is unlikely to be able to support themselves in the future, for example due to age, ill-health or caring responsibilities.

Quantum of maintenance

The amount of spousal maintenance that may be ordered will depend on the individual circumstances of the case. The court will take into account the needs of the recipient spouse and their ability to support themselves, as well as the capacity of the paying spouse to meet their obligations. The amount of spousal maintenance may also be affected by the division of property and any child support arrangements that are in place.

When will maintenance be ordered

It is important to note that spousal maintenance is not automatically granted in every case. Both spouses have a responsibility to support themselves to the best of their ability following a separation, and spousal maintenance is only ordered in cases where it is necessary to ensure a fair and reasonable outcome.

Agreements and consent orders

In addition to court-ordered spousal maintenance, spouses may also agree to a private spousal maintenance arrangement. This can be a more flexible option, allowing the parties to negotiate a mutually agreeable arrangement without the need for court intervention. Private spousal maintenance agreements may be reviewed and varied over time as the circumstances of the parties change.

Our experienced lawyers at Leach Legal can provide you with advice to determine whether you are eligible for spousal maintenance and provide you with assistance to get the best outcome for you.

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