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Spousal Maintenance

Spousal Maintenance

Spouses, to the extent they are reasonably able to do so, have an obligation to maintain each other provided that the party seeking maintenance is unable to support themselves because they
1.       Have the care and control of children of the relationship who have not attained the age of 18 years;
2.       Is incapacitated for appropriate gainful employment as a result of age or physical or mental factors; or
3.       Has any other adequate reasons.
Spousal maintenance proceedings can be instituted either before or after divorce or after separation for de facto couples. If proceedings are instituted after divorce, you must be mindful of the 12 month time limitation of bringing the proceedings.  In some cases, spousal maintenance is available even before the parties have separated.
Orders for spousal maintenance may be made:
1.       By consent;
2.       After a contested hearing;
3.       On an urgent basis;
4.       On an interim basis; and
5.       To vary or discharge existing orders.
The spouse from whom the maintenance is sought must have a capacity to pay the maintenance. That capacity is assessed by how much “surplus” the spouse has after paying the necessary commitments such as living expenses.
A list of considerations the Court takes into account are set out in section 75(2) of the Family Law Act 1975 (link to section 75 of the Act: http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/fla1975114/s75.html)

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Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Nothing in this blog should be deemed to create or constitute a solicitor-client relationship between any readers and Swan Family Lawyers. A solicitor-client relationship is created only when this firm agrees to represent someone and a written engagement agreement or engagement letter is signed by both the client and solicitor. In all cases, the reader should consult his or her own solicitor for advice. The information in this blog is based on Australian law.