Spousal Maintenance Lawyers Perth

Spousal maintenance is the payment made from one party to another after separation. The payments are to support a party who is in a weaker financial position than the other after separation.

Spousal maintenance is most often seen where one party in a relationship has far greater income than the other such as where one party is working and the other is a homemaker and primary carer of the children. Spousal maintenance is usually only paid for a specific period of time and is intended to assist the lower income party in the initial period following separation.

In the Australian legal system, being married or in a de facto relationship can give rise to a claim of spousal maintenance in certain situations. Spousal maintenance is not guaranteed just because you have a lower income than your former partner. It is important to be fully aware of your rights and obligations after the end of a relationship, our experienced team of family solicitors can assist you.

Eligibility For Spousal Maintenance In Perth

You must be either married or in a de facto relationship to make a claim of spousal maintenance. The person claiming spousal maintenance must show that they are incapable of supporting themselves adequately and the other partner has sufficient income/resources to provide them with assistance.
In determining spousal maintenance claims, the Court will consider factors such as:

  • The age and health of each party;
  • The earnings, possessions and financial resources of each party;
  • The ability of each party to obtain gainful employment;
  • If any party has the care of any children or any other persons;
  • If any party is cohabiting with another person, and, if so, their financial situation;
  • The terms of any property settlement orders or binding financial agreement that may have been made between the parties;
  • If either party has a superannuation, stipend or benefit;
  • A standard of living that is reasonable in the circumstances;
  • The length of the relationship and any impact it may have had on the claimant’s earning ability; and
  • If there are any child support payments being made.
  • The Court has a significant amount of discretion when determining spousal maintenance orders and the above list is only a fraction of what the Court can consider when making their decision.

    When To Make An Application For Spousal Maintenance?

    If you were in a married relationship, a claim of spousal maintenance must be brought within one year after the divorce order. Couples in de facto relationships have two years after the date of separation to make a spousal maintenance claim.

    However, the Court may still be willing to hear an application for spousal maintenance outside of the time limit if the applicant is able to prove hardship to themselves and their children if any and that it is in the interest of justice.

    Ending Spousal Maintenance Payments

    If the recipient of spousal maintenance payments remarries, then it is likely that they will no longer be able to claim further spousal maintenance payments.

    If the recipient of the payments enters into a partnership or relationship with another person, it is best to notify the payer and the Court of the change in circumstances.

    Failure to inform the payer and the Court can result in a fine and/or other penalty and an order that you repay the spousal maintenance received from the commencement of the new relationship. The Court will consider the financial arrangement between you and your new partner to determine whether the spousal maintenance payments should continue.

Trust Our Family Lawyers for Support

Spousal Maintenance is a complex area of Family Law and can vary drastically depending on your circumstances. Our firm has a very experienced team of Family Lawyers in Perth who can assess your situation and provide the most effective advice to help you support yourself after separation.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Spousal maintenance stands out as weekly maintenance provided by one spouse from their income to another spouse. Spousal maintenance is viewed as a mutual obligation with both parties married or de facto relationship to maintain each other. 

When applying for spousal maintenance directly to the court, it will be better to contact a divorce or family lawyer for the job. They have the knowledge and understanding of how to apply for alimony or spousal maintenance and will help in guiding you throughout the entire process

Yes, there is. When you have decided to apply for spousal maintenance, you can do so within 12 months, right after the date of your divorce order takes full effect. On the other hand, if you are in a de facto relationship, you can apply for spousal maintenance within 2 years of your separation. 

When it comes to determining the spousal maintenance, the court will look at the applicant’s financial requirements and the financial capacity of the respondent. The court will make a discretionary judgement as to how much will be paid. But there is no presence of any prescribed formula to determine the amount of spousal maintenance.

The spousal maintenance order will only be changed when a court can vary a spousal maintenance order within further proceedings among the parties about the alimony. 

According to FL Action Section 82, the spousal maintenance order will end when the payee passes away, when the payee remarries, or when the payer passes away. 

You will become obligated to pay for the spousal maintenance when the person making the application cannot meet his or her requirements, and you can pay. 

Yes, it’s possible that the court will consider the maintenance of a de facto partner or spouse as part of the property settlement

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