After separation, a party to a marriage or defacto relationship may be liable to financially support the other party if that other party is unable to adequately support herself or himself as a result of:-
- Having the care of a child of the relationship;
- Because of age or physical or mental incapacity for employment; or
- Any other adequate reason.
The Court’s power is discretionary and the liable party must be reasonably able to provide financial support to the other party, taking into account relevant factors under Section 75 (2) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), including the age and health of both parties, their respective incomes, assets, liabilities and other financial circumstances. The Court must also consider the commitments of both parties for their necessary support, education/training opportunities and the financial circumstances of a partner of either party.
A Court can order spousal maintenance in a number of ways, including periodic (weekly, fortnightly or monthly) payments, a lump sum or transfer of property and unless otherwise specified in the Order, ceases on the death of a party or on the remarriage of the party receiving spousal maintenance.
Spousal maintenance Orders can be discharged, suspended or varied by a Court, including where there has been a change of circumstances of either party, a significant change in the cost of living, if the amount ordered (by consent) is not proper or material facts were withheld by a party.
Time limits may apply to an Application for spousal maintenance and legal advice should be sought on your particular circumstances.
If you have any questions about spousal maintenance please one of our family lawyers to discuss.