In this article we discuss points in relation to spousal support or spousal maintenance payments in the Australian state of Queensland (QLD).
So, what exactly is spousal maintenance in QLD? Spousal maintenance or spousal support refers to financial support payments made from one spouse to the other in order to financially support the other spouse.
Generally, a divorce or separation greatly affects the financially dependent party. Such a drastic change in the circumstances of their relationship can be difficult for financially dependent parties.
We have commonly heard of the term ‘alimony’ because of television shows and movies. In Australia, we don’t use the term ‘alimony’ but spousal maintenance QLD or spousal support payments are similar to alimony payments.
In this article, we will discuss important points in relation to spousal maintenance in QLD.
Spousal Maintenance QLD: Meaning
Following the breakdown of a relationship, a party has the responsibility to support their former spouse if they were financially dependent on them during the course of their relationship.
Notably, spousal maintenance in QLD and child support or child maintenance are separate payments. It is quite possible that a party will be required to make both payments at a given time.
Moreover, both divorced couples and couples who have separated from a de facto relationship can make agreements about spousal maintenance in QLD.
There are may factors that determine how much spousal support a party will need to pay to their former spouse. Moreover, it can be paid in various manners, for example, either in the form of a lump sum payment or periodic payments.
Read on below to find out factors that determine the amount of payment.
Spousal Maintenance QLD: Factors That Determine Amount Of Payment
Before we discuss the factors that help in determining the amount of payment that a party has to make to the other, there are some other important points to note.
Firstly, parties can either reach agreements regarding spousal maintenance payments and apply for consent orders to make those agreements more legally binding.
If parties are unable to reach mutual agreements regarding spousal support payments, they can attend mediation sessions. Here, an experienced professional will help both parties reach a conclusion by facilitating healthy discussions between the two.
If this fails, the parties need to approach family courts. Courts will then make binding final orders regarding spousal support payments.
For all scenarios, the factors for determining how much amount a party needs to pay remains the same. Given below are a list of some of the factors that courts take into consideration – based on Section 75 (2) of the Family Law Act (1975)
- Age of each spouse;
- Income, property and financial resources of each spouse;
- Whether either party has the care and control of a child from the relationship;
- A reasonable standard of living for both parties;
- The duration of the marriage and the extent to which the relationship affected the income earning capacity of either of the parties
The eligibility for spousal support payments largely depends on the factors mentioned above as stated in Section 75 (2) of the Family Law Act (1975). Importantly, the Court will also check if it is reasonable for the partner making payments to do so.
Are There Any Time Limits To Consider?
Parties must keep certain time limits in mind if they wish to make applications for spousal maintenance. They can make applications any time after they have separated. Some people opt to separate but still continue living in the same house. Even they will be eligible to make applications for spousal support.
However, there are time limits. Parties seeking to apply for court orders in relation to spousal maintenance must do so within:
- One year from the date their divorce was finalised
- Two years from the date their de facto relationship ended
Types Of Court Orders
Courts can order a party to make payments in a variety of different ways. Given below is a list of the types of orders that courts can make in regards to spousal support payments, according to Section 80 and 90SS:
- payment of lump sum amount
- transfer of property titles or assets to another party as part of spousal maintenance payment
- permanent or fixed-period order
- payment of weekly, monthly or yearly amount by way of periodic payments
Variation Of Court Orders
The Courts can vary previous orders if some circumstances of the parties have changed. Variation can include either orders that require a party to pay less, or pay more, depending on the situation. There are various reasons why Courts may vary orders such as:
- Cost of living has changed significantly;
- The circumstances of one or both of the parties has changed – like the paying party has acquired a better paying job, or has lost some part of income etc.
- The amount of payment is no longer proper or adequate
- Parties failed to disclose some information when the initial order was made.
Family Lawyers For Your Legal Needs
As mentioned above, there are various ways through which parties can finalise matters regarding spousal maintenance in QLD. Most importantly, they will require legal advice at every step.
If you are able to chalk out a plan with your former spouse, you must approach family lawyers for guidance on applying for consent orders.
On the other hand, if you and your former spouse are unable to reach agreements, you can attend mediation sessions that will help you both come to a fair conclusion. Our award-winning mediators have a wealth of experience in handling disputed matters between separated couples.
Moreover, you will also require legal advice while making court applications. This is because you need to ensure that you disclose all information regarding your financial circumstances. Court procedures can involve filling various forms, and it can be complicated and lengthy.
Contact us for more information.