Spousal maintenance in Australia is essential if you or your former partner are struggling financially following a divorce or separation. In such a case, an application for spousal may be submitted, and if it is successful, the Court will order that one partner make financial payments to support their former partner.
What Is Spousal Maintenance Australia?
Spousal Maintenance Australia refers to the financial support payments made from persons to their former partner as a legally binding order from the Court. The Court will make this order for you to maintain a reasonable standard of living following divorce or separation. However, these payments will not continue indefinitely and are only to be viewed as a means of helping you get back on your feet whilst pursuing education, seeking employment and so on.
The likelihood of success of your claim will depend on your particular situation, which is reflected in Section 75 of the Family Law Act (1975). If you are successful in your claim for spousal maintenance, the Court may make the following orders:
- For your former partner to make regular financial payments to you.
- For certain items such as the home of the marriage, to be sold and the sale proceeds given to you.
In What Situation Should I Consider Applying For Spousal Maintenance?
To help better understand spousal maintenance in Australia, here are some of the most common situations where the benefit would be approved:
- So the receiver can maintain a reasonable standard of living relative to the standard of living they have been accustomed to during the relationship.
- The payment can help the receiver establish themselves in the workforce by either supporting them whilst seeking employment, further education, or training.
- The eligibility status of both parties to receive government allowances and payments such as pension or Centrelink benefits.
- The mental capacity of the party receiving the payment.
- The effect an order of spousal maintenance will have on the financial well-being of the party paying the benefit.
- The duration of a couple’s relationship or marriage
- Whether the party applying for the spousal maintenance is living together with someone else and the financial circumstances around these living circumstances.
- Whether there is a binding financial agreement in place, and the terms of that agreement.
- If the receiver of the payment suffers from any health-related conditions and the payment would greatly help.
This list is by no means exhaustive and is only the most common reason why spousal maintenance has historically been awarded. For a complete account of all the reasons that spousal maintenance is awarded, you should refer to the Family Law Act. Alternatively, please reach out to
Am I Eligible For Spousal Maintenance Australia?
To better understand spousal maintenance in Australia, it will also be helpful to discuss the scheme’s eligibility requirements. For spousal maintenance to be even considered, one partner must not have the financial means to support themselves, and the other must be employed or have extensive assets. In such a situation, we can then continue to the eligibility requirements for the payment.
1. The partner paying the spousal maintenance benefit must have the financial means necessary to support the partner receiving the spousal maintenance. Accordingly, the Court must be satisfied that they have the additional income to contribute to your expenses and adequately provide for themselves.
2. An application for spousal maintenance must be made within a specified time period, depending on whether it is a marriage or de facto relationship.
Regarding divorce, spousal maintenance must be awarded within 12 months of the divorce.
For de facto relationships, this period is twenty-four months. It may be challenging to agree on an exact date of separation for this requirement concerning de facto relationships. Therefore, where parties to a relationship disagree, the Family Court will consider any supporting evidence.
Importance of Seeking Legal Advice
When discussing spousal maintenance in Australia, you must seek the help of an experienced family lawyer to assist you with the application process and legalities involved.
Here at JB Solicitors, we’ll make the process as pain-free as possible. We have fixed-fee pricing for family law, giving you a clear sense of the costs from the start, and we will be sure to help you out every step of the way. With years of experience under our belt, we pride ourselves on making each client’s family law experience as positive as possible.
Contact JB Solicitors today to speak with one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers.
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