Duncan Basheer Hannon’s family lawyers are experienced in negotiating relationship breakdowns. These delicate situations include a variety of legal considerations, including spousal maintenance. Spousal maintenance may be payable following a separation in marriage or eligible de facto relationships.

To decide this, and the likely amount, a court will take into account a number of factors including, age, capacity for employment and the circumstances of the children – particularly minors. Spousal maintenance can be paid periodically or in a lump sum. A Spousal maintenance order can be varied if there is a change to your financial circumstances.

An application for Spousal maintenance can be made immediately following separation – you do not have to wait for divorce proceedings to complete. However, it must be lodged within 12 months of a divorce application reaching decree absolute or within 2 years for the end of a de facto relationship. Any application after this date will need to convince the court that there are special circumstances that would allow the application to proceed

What does a court consider?

Spousal maintenance is not automatic. A court considers the needs of the applicant and the respondent’s capacity to pay. The court will take into account:

  • Your age and health.
  • Your income, property and financial resources.
  • Your ability to work
  • What is a suitable standard of living
  • If the marriage has affected your ability to earn an income.

A court will also consider with whom the children (under 18 years of age or adult children who are disabled) live. It will also need to reconsider your situation if you are in a defacto relationship or marry another person. Applications for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final.

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