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spousal maintenance

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100

Peter Magee

Armstrong Legal are Australian Family Lawyers located in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, specialising in the area of Spousal Maintenance.

Spousal maintenance is when one person provides ongoing financial support for their former husband or wife.

Under the Family Law Act, both spouses have a duty to support and maintain each other, even after you have separated or divorced. Essentially, the extent of the support depends on the following:

  • One spouse (the applicant) is unable to adequately meet his or her own reasonable needs; and
  • The other spouse (the respondent) has the capacity to pay.

When deciding any financial disputes after a divorce, the Court bases its decisions on the general principles set out in Sections 79(4) and 75(2) of the Family Law Act 1975. In summary, the judicial officer will try to decide on what is most fair and equitable, based on the following information (for both spouses):

  • Your income, property, financial resources and debts
  • Your age and health (which determines future requirements)
  • Your ability to earn, and whether this has been affected by the marriage
  • What is considered to be a suitable standard of living
  • Whether the children live with you or your former spouse.

Spousal maintenance is not automatic, and often is considered as part of an overall settlement of financial matters.

It is necessary that both parties attempt to reach an agreement outside of court, before filing an application for spousal maintenance orders. When spousal maintenance applications are filed with either the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court (Federal Magistrates Court), both parties are ordered to undergo "pre-action procedures" including participation in a dispute resolution.

In rare cases, such as situations involving urgency, child abuse, family violence or fraud, the Court may accept that it is not possible or appropriate for the pre-action procedures to be carried out.

Applications for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final. Later applications require special permission from the court, but this is not always granted.

where to next?

Taking the next step and contacting a family lawyer can be scary. Our lawyers will make you feel comfortable so you can talk about your situation. But first, ask yourself, Do I really need a lawyer?

Why Choose Armstrong Legal?

Contact Armstrong Legal:
Sydney: (02) 9261 4555
Melbourne: (03) 9620 2777
Brisbane: (07) 3229 4448
Canberra: (02) 6288 1100

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