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Divorce and Spousal Maintenance

If a person and their spouse have separated permanently then an application can be made for divorce. This application can be made by the two parties jointly, or by either party without consulting the other.

Requirements for obtaining a divorce

These conditions that must be fulfilled for a divorce to be granted are:

  • That the spouses have been separated for at least 12 months; and
  • The marriage has broken down irretrievably;
  • If the spouses have children then there are proper future living arrangements for them. This includes where they will live, what school they will attend and how their financial needs will be met;
  • The court has jurisdiction to grant a divorce.

If the above conditions are met then a court will make an order ending the marriage.

Time limits

Divorce not only ends the marriage but starts the limitation period running for you or your spouse to deal with your financial affairs. The limitation period for resolving the financial affairs between two former spouses is 12 months from the date of the divorce. Financial affairs may include a property settlement or an application for spousal maintenance.

Spousal maintenance

An application for spousal maintenance is sometimes made when one party is unable to pay their living expenses from their own income. The reasons for this often arise from the circumstances of the marriage such as you staying at home or working lesser hours to look after the children. If you cannot pay for all of your weekly living expenses then you may be able to obtain assistance from your spouse. This is what is referred to as spousal maintenance.

If you need to apply for spousal maintenance and have not reached an agreement with your spouse or started court proceedings within 12 months of the date of your divorce then you have lost your opportunity to do so without permission from the court to make the application out of time.

If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

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