In many cases, for married couples, or those in defacto relationships, when the relationship ends, one party will need to continue to financially support the other. This is known as Spousal OR Defacto partner maintenance.
Pop culture creates the impression the former spouse of a high earning husband, wife or partner is automatically entitled to be kept in the manner to which they are accustomed, which their ex must continue to pay for the rest of their lives.
This impression is misleading. (The US term for Maintenance is ‘alimony’).
Maintenance can be an extremely technical area of law. Detailed legal advice should be sought, whether you wish to seek or resist an order for maintenance.
What is Spousal or Defacto Maintenance?
It is the financial support that one person in a marriage or defacto relationship must pay to the other after the relationship has broken down. This includes same-sex couples.
If you were in a defacto relationship, you must apply within two years of separation.
If you were married, you must apply within one year of your date of divorce.
The Family Court can order one party to pay spousal maintenance to the other only if one person is unable to support themselves adequately and the other person is reasonably able to provide such support.
Time limits often apply to spousal or partner maintenance. For example, it may be payable for six months, one year or two years, or payable as a lump sum.
Spousal or partner maintenance is a different obligation for child support obligations, which are solely for the benefit of children.
Typical questions you may have:
- Might I be entitled to Spousal or Defacto Maintenance?
- Is my ex reasonably able to provide such support?
- Is my ex seeking Spousal or Defacto Maintenance?
- Am I reasonably able to provide such support?
If spousal or partner maintenance is likely to be a factor in your separation, it is best to consult with a lawyer as soon as possible. Leach Legal offers a free, 15-minute telephone consultation to help clarify the issues on (08) 9486 9733.
Our team of experienced, professional, Perth Family Lawyers are here to help.