The Family Law Act provides that spouses are liable to maintain each other financially even after their marriage or relationship has ended.
The obligation to maintain a former spouse arises only if one spouse cannot support themselves adequately and the other spouse is reasonably able to do so. The entitlement to spousal maintenance is not automatic.
If one spouse makes an Application to the Court for spousal maintenance, the Court is required to consider the following factors in determining whether to make such an Order and how maintenance should be paid:
- Their age and health;
- Their income, property and financial resources;
- The care of children under 18 years of age;
- Their ability to gain employment and earn an income;
- What is a suitable standard of living for each spouse;
- Whether the marriage or the relationship has affected either spouse’s ability to earn an income or gain employment; and
- Any other factors the Court considers relevant.
There are time limits that apply in relation to the ability for a former spouse to make an Application to the Court for spousal maintenance, so it is important to act promptly.
What’s the lesson from all this?
The important thing to remember is that that no two cases are the same, that the law is complex, and the Courts have a very wide discretion to make decisions.
It’s only when you go into the detail of the matter, and understand that some factors favour one side, and some factors favour the other, that one is able to predict the outcome through the courts.
Don’t rely on friends, family or Google.
It is essential you obtain specialist legal advice from us about your particular circumstances.
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