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At ALA Law (Formally Amanda Little & Associates) we can assist you with all aspects of property settlements including Spousal Maintenance.
Our clients often ask us what is spousal maintenance? Essentially it is a payment to the “disadvantaged party” to cover the costs of their living expenses and needs until they are in a position to support themselves. In the United States this is called “alimony”
There are two types of Spousal Maintenance:
- Urgent or Interim Spousal Maintenance (made on an urgent and temporary basis);
- Long-term Spousal Maintenance (made on a final basis for a set period of time, or triggered on a certain event).
What is the purpose of Spousal Maintenance?
The primary purpose of maintenance is to adjust the disparity between incomes and earning capacities between parties (Husband and Wife or de facto partners) and is usually for a short period.
It may be made as compensation for economic disadvantage and for a long period if a sufficient adjustment cannot be made by way of property settlement Mitchell & Mitchell (1995) FLC.
When and how can an Interim/Urgent Order for Spousal Maintenance be made?
Interim orders can be made;
- Until a lump sum payment of property is paid (Davidson & Davidson (1991) FLC);
- Without a full hearing on all aspects of the case H & H (1985) FLC;
- For a fixed period but reserving liberty to the applicant to apply for the order to continue (Kauiers & Kauiers (1986) FLC); and
- Into a recipient of a lump sum or transfer property has had time to liquidate assets and invest proceeds (Petterson & Petterson (1979)FLC).
What is the difference between child support and spousal maintenance?
Child support relates directly to supporting the children of the relationship. This is separate to Spousal maintenance which relates to supporting the adult party of the relationship.
They are not interconnected, are found under different legislation. It is possible for the Court to Order spousal maintenance even if that party is also paying child support.
Statutory Limitation periods – how long do I have to apply?
A party to a marriage or de-facto relationship is obliged pursuant to s72 or s90S(f)(1) to maintain the other party according to their respective needs and abilities to pay.
Maintenance proceedings can be instituted;
- Before a divorce;
- After a divorce but subject to the 12-month time limitation set out in s44(3);
- Even if the marriage is void section 71;
- During a marriage and after the break down of the de-facto relationship s90SE(1)