Under the Family Law Act, spousal maintenance (sometimes referred to by the US term “alimony”) is required to be paid from one spouse to another if they cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their own income or assets.
There is no automatic right to maintenance and it is not presumed that the husband must pay his wife or vice versa. Maintenance can be payable for both married and de facto couples.
This obligation may arise as soon as separation occurs and may continue well beyond the finalisation of a divorce depending on the circumstances involved.
The right advice
Understanding and enforcing your maintenance rights and obligations can be complicated and requires the input of an expert family lawyer as soon as possible after the relationship has broken down.
Our goal is to protect your interests as we guide you through the process of reaching a fair maintenance agreement with your former partner. The amount you may have to pay or may be entitled to receive is influenced by many factors including:
- The income of each party and their ability to gain ongoing employment
- The age of and relative health of each party
- Assets and other financial resources
- The costs of child care and maintenance that each party may be meeting
- Financial commitments
- Any benefits, pensions or other allowances a party may be receiving
- Standard of living for each party
Even though maintenance payments may be required for quite a long time the intention is that they are temporary. The goal is for the financially disadvantaged party to eventually be able to support themselves.
Maintenance requirements will end when either party remarries, enters into a defacto relationship or if either party passes away.
For further information on whether you are entitled or liable to pay spousal maintenance come and talk to one of the Kennedy Spanner family law team today.