If you are married, or in a de facto relationship and separated after 1 March 2009, you may be entitled to claim spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance is financial support to assist you to meet your usual and everyday expenses, rather than financial support for the children. An order for spousal maintenance can be made for payment of a weekly sum or a lump sum. Spousal maintenance is different from child support and if you have children and are entitled to spousal maintenance, your spouse will have to pay both child support and spousal maintenance.
Spousal maintenance is not an automatic right and the following are some of the factors a court will consider in determining your entitlement to spousal maintenance:
♦ your ability to support yourself properly
♦ the income and usual and everyday expenses of both yourself and your spouse
♦ the length of your marriage and whether you have lost your employment skills and require retraining
♦ other reasons that may prevent you from working
If your spouse will not agree to pay spousal maintenance, you will need to apply to the court for an order. If you are divorced, you have 12 months from the date your divorce became absolute, to commence proceedings for spousal maintenance. Outside this time limit you must obtain the leave of the court which may be difficult to obtain and is often only granted in exceptional circumstances. Please seek legal advice urgently if you are outside this time to obtain advice as to your prospects of proceeding.
Hogan Stanton Lawyers can advise you as to your likely entitlement to spousal maintenance and negotiate the payment of spousal maintenance with your spouse on your behalf. We can also assist you with the preparation of any necessary court application and represent you in court at the hearing.
Ability to support Yourself
Income and Usual / Everyday expenses of both Parties
Length of Marriage and Employment Skills require Retraining
Other Reasons that prevent Ability to Work