Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to apply to the Court for Spousal Maintenance.
The court has power to make a spousal maintenance order that it considers proper. There is a one (1) year time limit on applying for a spousal maintenance order. There are exceptions in which you can apply for spousal maintenance outside of the time limit.
After separation, there will be two avenues available to you, depending on your circumstances. You may be able to apply for an urgent maintenance order, if you are in immediate need of financial assistance. Although the Family Law Act does not define ‘immediate need for financial assistance’ urgent maintenance orders are designed to deal with ‘urgent situations’. They are normally relevant for a defined period of time and they are in the nature of stop-gap orders. The benefit of this avenue is that orders can be made ex parte, namely without the presence of your ex-partner.
Under section 80(1)(h) of the Family Law Act, you may be able to apply for an interim maintenance order until a further order has been made by the court.
To be eligible for spousal maintenance, you must demonstrate that:
In determining whether you are unable to support yourself adequately, the court will have regard to the following:
At Bardo Lawyers, we take the time to understand your situation before providing timely and expert advice in a language that you can understand.
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This means that you may apply for spousal maintenance orders even though you have assets or income available. If property orders have been made and you have been provided with assets from the property pool, you may nevertheless be eligible for spousal maintenance, depending on the factors in section 75(2) of the Family Law Act. It should also be noted there is no requirement that the party’s pre-separation living standard be maintained after separation.
In addition to the factors under section 75(2) of the Family Law Act, in determining whether the other party (ex-partner) is able to support you, the court will take into consideration the other party’s income and his or her reasonable living expenses.
s 75(2)(a): The age and state of health of each of the parties;
s 75(2)(b): The income property and financial resources of each of the parties and the physical and mental capacity of each of them for appropriate gainful employment;
75(2)(c): Whether either party has the care or control of a child of the marriage who has not attained the age of 18;
s 75(2)(j): The extent to which the party whose maintenance is under consideration has contributed to the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the other party;
s 75(2)(k): The duration of the marriage and the extent to which it has affected the earning capacity of the party whose maintenance is under consideration; and
s 75(2)(o): Any fact or circumstance, which, in the opinion of the court, the justice of the case requires to be taken into account;
The court has power under section 80 of the Family Law Act to make orders such as ordering a lump sum payment or requiring payment of a weekly, monthly, yearly or other periodic sum. The full list of orders available to the Court are under section 80(1).
People involved in family law or de facto matters have a duty to disclose all information and documents that are relevant to their case, and which are (or have been) in their possession or which they have the authority or ability to obtain.
The duty of disclosure starts from the time that you first commence negotiations until your family law matter is finalised, regardless of whether there are court proceedings on foot.
The Duty of disclosure brochure gives information about what documents are relevant. If you are not sure if a document is or is not relevant, contact us and we can advise you if a document is relevant.
If you have any questions or concerns in relation to this duty of disclosure get in touch with us so that we can discuss the issue and provide you with specific advice.