For separating families, it is not uncommon to consider spousal maintenance for spouses that have very different financial circumstances after separating. If one spouse is working full time providing for the family and the other is working in the home caring for children and running the household, the disparity of income can be stark. We recognise how distressing it is for people to find themselves in a position where one spouse is struggling financially. It’s a challenge to re-arrange finances at times, and to have to come up with money that you simply don’t have.
Can I apply for Spousal Maintenance?
Spouses do sometimes have ongoing financial responsibilities to continue to support the other spouse where they have the capacity to do so. This is called spousal maintenance, and it involves one spouse paying money to the other spouse to provide them with financial support. This is in addition to, and independent of, any obligations to pay child support. Spousal maintenance may be paid in a lump sum amount, or a regular weekly, fortnightly or monthly amount depending on the circumstances. It can also be for a defined time in some circumstances.
Like most Family Law matters, spousal maintenance can be resolved early by arrangement. If spouses can not come to an agreement, an application can be made to the Court for Orders that one party pay the other maintenance. Often urgent applications to the Court are made in circumstances where one party does not have enough money to financially support themselves. If spouses are married, they MUST finalise their spousal maintenance, or apply to the Court for the Orders for spousal maintenance within 12 months of the date of divorce. If parties were in a defacto relationship, this MUST occur within 2 years of the date of separation.
If you need some help negotiating about, or dealing with a Court matter about spousal maintenance, call our Business Development Officers and make an appointment to speak with one of our Brisbane Family Lawyers to get some advice today.