BurkeMead Lawyers are experienced family lawyers, assisting clients with a range of family law matters including spousal maintenance. As experts in family law matters, we support our clients with a range of legal services and professional advice.
Our family-focused services are delivered by a dedicated legal team of experienced family lawyers. Our experience with the Family Court, legal proceedings, mediation and knowledge of divorce and spousal maintenance can help guide you and your family to the best possible outcome.
For practical legal advice regarding your financial circumstances and support needs following a separation or divorce, contact BurkeMead Lawyers to book a private and confidential consultation.
What is Spousal Maintenance in Australia?
According to the FCFCOA, spousal maintenance is financial support paid by one party to a marriage to the other party (a current or former spouse) in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves. It is a binding financial agreement to provide financial support to cover reasonable living expenses and ensure that both parties have appropriate financial resources.
Under the Family Law Act (1975), a person has a responsibility to financially assist their spouse (or former de facto partner) if that person cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their personal income or assets. In this circumstance, a person may be ordered to pay spousal maintenance payments.
Before making a spousal maintenance application for maintenance payments, you should seek legal advice regarding your specific circumstances. There are a number of factors the Courts consider before they will award spousal maintenance, including:
- the age and health of both parties,
- income, assets and other financial resources available to both parties,
- the capacity to work of both parties (this may take into consideration any physical or mental incapacity issues that may impact your capacity to work),
- if the marriage has affected your ability to earn an income, and
- if dependents are involved, with whom any children (under 18 years of age or adult children who are disabled) live.
There are many factors that can impact your eligibility for spousal maintenance, which is why receiving independent legal advice before making an application is important.
The Benefits of Working with a Family Lawyer to Secure Spousal Maintenance
Anyone seeking to formalise financial matters and is considering seeking spousal maintenance should engage legal representation. Determining spousal maintenance payments is not always a straightforward process, which is why having legal advice throughout the process is important.
As experienced family law specialists, we work with you to apply for spousal maintenance and guide you through the dispute process from beginning to end. We take a collaborative approach to understanding your immediate and ongoing needs, and our objective is focused on securing the best possible outcome for you and your future.
Our team specialises in resolving family disputes through mediation and negotiation. BurkeMead Lawyers are one of the leading family law firms operating in Newcastle, the Central Coast, and the Hunter Region. Contact BurkeMead Lawyers today for more information or book a consultation.
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Spousal Maintenance in NSW FAQs
Maintenance is money paid from one partner (married or de facto relationship) to another to support them financially. It can be obtained by married couples either before or after a separation (spousal maintenance), or de facto couples who have finalised their separation (maintenance).
Under the Family Law Act, the Court can make an order for maintenance if a need for financial support is established and the supporting partner has the financial capacity to pay.
While it’s not necessary to have a lawyer to come to an agreement with your former partner, you may need one if you want a court order. To get a court order you may be required to get independent legal advice.
To apply for spousal maintenance, you need to complete the application form and file it to the FCFCOA (or your lawyer can do this for you). The FCFCOA website has some general information about making an application and you can also file your application online. The FCFCOA will charge a fee for filing the application (although this cost can be split with your spouse or even waived by the Court) and then a hearing date will be set, with the deadlines for any documentation required. An experienced family lawyer can assist you with the application process and help you to prepare all the necessary documents.
You do not have to be divorced in order to apply for spousal maintenance. After divorce or seperation you can apply to the Court to make an order for spousal maintenance within 12 months after your divorce is finalised.
There is no calculator you can use to determine how much spousal maintenance will be paid in a given circumstance, as there are a variety of factors taken into consideration when determining maintenance payments. These factors can include income and available assets of both parties, the reasonable living expenses of both parties, and the capacity to earn of both parties, as well as capacity to pay for the party being asked to provide support.
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