Following separation, a spousal maintenance order can be made by the Court for one party to provide financial assistance to the other party. In this article we talk you through 10 quick facts to help demystify the area of spousal maintenance.
1 – Spousal maintenance is a payment from one spouse to another, following the breakdown of a marriage or a de facto relationship.
2 – You must apply for spousal maintenance within 12 months of the date of your divorce, or within 2 years of the breakdown of a de facto relationship.
3 – There are two elements to spousal maintenance:
- that one party cannot support themselves adequately due to having the care of a child under 18, incapacity to gain meaningful employment or any other adequate reason; and
- the other party has the capacity to pay.
4 – The court will look at many factors when considering whether or not to order spousal maintenance, including an in depth look at all of your expenses.
5 – The court may award spousal maintenance to cover all of your expenses, or some of your expenses.
6 – Spousal maintenance can be a periodic or a lump sum payment of money, or it can be also paid by transfer of property.
7 – You do not have to declare your spousal maintenance payments as income to the Australian Taxation Office, however you do have to declare your spousal maintenance payments to Centrelink and your family payment benefits may be reduced.
8 – Spousal maintenance can continue as long as ordered.
9 – Spousal maintenance can be varied by court order.
10 – Spousal maintenance will terminate on the death of a party or by the person receiving spousal maintenance re-marrying.