Spousal Maintenance is about ensuring that financial stability and security is maintained for a certain period after a relationship or marriage breakdown.
Property settlement involves a detailed assessment of each party’s financial position, and whether their financial position needs adjusting.
Unlike Child Support which is overseen by a Federal Government Department (the Child Support Agency), Spousal Maintenance is overseen by a Family Law Court.
There are two types of Spousal Maintenance – urgent and general. Urgent, as the word implies, means that there is sufficient proof of need on an immediate basis to satisfy a Family Law Court that an Order that one party to a former relationship or marriage, should support the other party.
General spousal maintenance requires proof that, not only does one party have an immediate need for support because they can’t work or can’t earn enough to pay their costs of living, but that the other party has the capacity to contribute to those costs of living.
It is rare for parties to a relationship to agree on Spousal Maintenance being paid before a property settlement is agreed to.
Most often, if there is a high need, an Application to a Family Law Court is necessary, and then it is for that Court to determine if spousal maintenance should be paid.
Frequently, whether by agreement or Court Order, a property settlement amount includes a component of Spousal Maintenance with the intention that there will be no more claims made.