Spousal Maintenance is financial support paid by one party to another in circumstances where the receiving party is unable to adequately support themselves. Spousal maintenance can be sought by parties to a marriage, or de facto partners where the relationship has broken down irrevocably.
When can I apply for Spousal Maintenance?
There are a number of grounds which give rise to the ability to apply for spousal maintenance if you cannot afford to financially support yourself in the Family Court of WA, including:
A disability (mental or physical) which prevents you from obtaining work;
If you have care of a child under 18 years of age; and
Any other reason the Family Court deems reasonable.
The Family Court will also consider whether your ex-partner is financially able to afford maintenance payments.
Parties are able to apply for spousal maintenance orders during divorce or separation proceedings. Alternatively, applications may be made up to one year post separation proceedings being finalised.
In certain circumstances, applications may be made outside of these times, under strict conditions which WLM Legal is able to advise you on.
How does Spousal Maintenance work?
Spousal Maintenance is often awarded in one of two ways, either it is awarded as an periodic payment which means that your ex-partner will have a regular obligation to make small payments of an amount and for a period determined by the Family Court after consideration of a wide range of factors such as your ex-partners ability to pay among others.
Alternatively, the Family Court may order that a lump sum payment be made, which involves the payment of a single amount which satisfies the spousal maintenance obligations of your ex-partner.
How do I apply for Spousal Maintenance?
If you believe that you are entitled to seek spousal maintenance, the first step should be seeking legal advice so your specific situation can be considered and clear advice can be provided to you as to your best course of action.
If you chose to pursue an application for spousal maintenance, then the relevant documentation is drafted and an application is filed at the Family Court of WA. A hearing will then be allocated and the application and supporting documents must then be served on your ex-partner who will have a chance to respond.
Useful resources for Spousal Maintenance matters
Spousal maintenance matters can be complex and emotionally stressful. Fortunately, there are a number of resources available for people who are facing these kinds of proceedings.
The Family Court of Western Australia has a useful web page available, which outlines in more detail the process and procedure of applying for spousal maintenance.
The current fees charged by the Family Court of WA for applications for spousal maintenance are available to be viewed on the Family Court website.
Ok, I want to make an application
In that case, we are more than happy and ready to help. Give our office a call on (08) 9250 8117 or alternatively, send us an email through our contact form below and book a no obligations appointment today.