For many men and women, this question is an immediate concern when a relationship breaks down. Life’s expenses are easier to bear with two incomes. Or, with one partner contributing the majority, or all the household income. So, it’s quite normal for people to become accustomed to their regular standard of living.
When a couple separates, it means they also separate financially. As a result, one party may be unable to meet their needs without the previous household income. Understandably, this situation can be devastating, both financially and emotionally.
The Family Law Act foresaw such circumstances and includes a framework for the payment of spousal maintenance; a means to support an individual during separation or after divorce until their income is sufficient again. This framework applies to both married and de-facto couples who separate.
Reaching a Spousal Maintenance Agreement
You and your former partner can come to a private agreement for spousal maintenance, or the Court can make an order for the payment of spousal maintenance. The Court can make different types of spousal maintenance orders:
- Urgent spousal maintenance – These applications are rare, and typically apply when one party is “cut off” financially and unable to meet their immediate needs.
- Interim spousal maintenance – A temporary arrangement for financial support pending the finalization of proceedings.
- Final – The proceedings have come to an end, and a final order for maintenance has been made. However, spousal maintenance orders are able to be varied later if circumstances have changed.
At Family Law Group Solicitors, we can advise you on obtaining a spousal maintenance settlement that supports your needs.
How do you work out if you are entitled to spousal maintenance?
There are a number of factors, but the questions to be asked include:
Mistakes to Avoid with Spousal Maintenance
Unfortunately, it is easy to fall into making mistakes when navigating complicated areas of family law such as spousal maintenance. Avoiding these errors is key to ensuring that you can avoid unnecessary stress, costs, or time in court. You should try to avoid:
- Unrealistic expectations. Maintenance is a tool to use while re-establishing your financial independence. Beware of falling into the trap of asking for too much, or expecting indefinite financial support.
- An antagonistic or combative approach to requesting spousal maintenance. Negotiations will go more smoothly, and with fewer costs in lawyer fees, if you can minimise conflict.
- Underestimating the amount that would constitute appropriate maintenance. Don’t sell yourself short. Spousal maintenance doesn’t provide only a bare-bones level of existence. It does allow for expenses for self-education, holidays, and general lifestyle.
Do You Need a Spousal Maintenance Lawyer in Brisbane?
Let’s face it, it’s easy to understand why so many people make mistakes. Separation is an emotional and stressful time.
When in doubt, reach out for assistance from qualified spousal maintenance lawyers. It may be a challenge for you to determine on your own what the appropriate amount or length of support would be. Instead of trying to interpret legislation on your own, or applying a “DIY” mentality to spousal maintenance arrangements after a separation, rely on our solicitors instead.
But don’t delay. Following a separation, there are time limits in place for the creation of spousal maintenance agreements.
- For married couples, applications for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of the date your divorce application is finalised.
- For de-facto couples, spousal maintenance applications must be made within 2 years of the date you separated.
Outside of those time limits, the Court will only grant leave to apply in a very limited set of special circumstances. That’s why we advise that you take action to address your spousal maintenance needs immediately after separating from your partner.
We’re Ready to Help You
At Family Law Group Solicitors our team of lawyers together have more than 25 years of experience, across a range of family law matters. Since establishing our firm in 2005, we have been able to help many individuals negotiate spousal maintenance agreements that allow them to regain financial stability. If you’re looking for a spousal maintenance lawyer in Brisbane, we’re here ready to help.
Call our office today on (07) 5499 2900 and one of our friendly staff can book you in for an initial consultation with a solicitor.
Or, you can send us a confidential enquiry by email using our contact page.