Spousal maintenance in Victoria – also commonly referred to as spousal support – is the financial support payment made by one spouse to the other spouse after a divorce or separation. The purpose of these payments is to financially maintain the ex-partner following the breakdown of a relationship.
Spousal maintenance in Victoria is important because it is possible that an ex-partner is unable to support themselves financially. In this case, they are eligible to apply for spousal support. The other party will then be required to pay spousal support until the ex-partner is able to maintain themselves financially.
In this article, we will discuss key aspects related to spousal maintenance in Victoria such as who is eligible to receive and make payments, how the amount of these payments are calculated, and all other relevant aspects.
Notably, both parties are obligated to provide spousal maintenance to each other. Both parties have the duty to support each other depending on their capability to do so.
Who Can Receive Spousal Maintenance In Victoria?
These payments can be received by someone who has been divorced or separated from a spouse, has separated from a de facto partner, or someone’s whose marriage has been annulled.
Importantly, there are two factors which are given great consideration when an application for spousal support has been made. These include:
- If the party who has made the application is caring for a child or caring for children who are under 18 years of age.
- If the party is not able to maintain and support themselves properly.
When an application is made, there are numerous things the courts will need to assess before finalising matters such as how much amount needs to be paid, and for how long these amounts need to be paid. The factors which are considered include:
- capacity to get gainful employment;
- current assets;
- standard of living;
- whether ability to work has been affected by the relationship or marriage.
All above factors will be thoroughly assessed by the courts before a spousal maintenance order is granted. The following section will discuss the application process for spousal maintenance in Victoria.
How To Apply For Spousal Support?
Generally, it is possible for spousal maintenance in Victoria to be paid simply by making arrangements with the the party. If the other party agrees to make spousal support payments, both parties can then apply for consent orders or make binding financial agreements.
Binding financial agreements and consent orders will contain information about how the payments are to be made, how much amount of payment will be made and for how long.
However, it is also possible that the other party does not agree to make these payments. Following a divorce or separation, it is natural to feel resentment towards the other party, especially in cases where the divorce or separation was not amicable.
In these situations, it is possible that the party who is required to pay spousal maintenance may disagree. In this case, the party seeking spousal maintenance in Vitoria will need to make an application in the court.
Once the application is made, before the court grants an order for spousal support, the above-mentioned factors will be considered, such as if the party who is making the application has to look after a child who is still a minor.
There are different types of orders that the court can make in this regard. This will be discussed in the following section.
Types Of Orders Courts Can Make
These payments can be made in different forms. The courts can make the following types of orders for spousal maintenance in Victoria:
- order periodic payments;
- order payment of a lump sum amount;
- make a final order;
- order transfer of some property;
- impose all reasonable terms and conditions;
- make an order for fixed term, or for life until further orders are made;
- make all other relevant orders which the court deems will be necessary in this case
Are There Any Time Limits To Consider When Making Applications For Spousal Support?
Yes. It is important to note the time limits when you are considering making an application at the court for spousal maintenance in Victoria.
- After a divorce is finalised, parties will have 12 months to obtain spousal maintenance orders; and
- After a separation is finalised in case of de facto relationships, parties are given 24 months to obtain spousal maintenance orders.
It is extremely important to keep these time limits in mind as there are very limited opportunities for obtaining spousal maintenance if you have neglected the time limit.
Spousal Maintenance In Victoria: FAQs
Given below are various questions which you may have in relation to financial support payment .
Q1 – How much spousal maintenance will one need to pay?
The amount of payment which needs to be made by one party will be determined by the court based on the income and assets of the party, and their expenses as well. The court will then look at how much disposable income is left before making any final orders.
Q2 – Till when do these payments need to be made?
Based on the type of court order that is made, spousal maintenance can last for a short or long period. If the court has ordered a fixed period of time, the payments will stop after the fixed period. However, based on the unique circumstances of a person, the courts will make orders accordingly.
Q3 – What happens if the payee enters into a new relationship?
If the payee has entered into a de facto relationship or marries another person, the payer can make applications to amend the spousal maintenance order. These changed circumstances can affect the payments based on the payee’s financial circumstance after entering a new relationship.
JB Solicitors’ Family Law Team
Family law is complicated because each case is very different. You will require tailored-advice for your specific case.
At JB Solicitors, our family lawyers are experts in providing market-leading advice which is tailored to address your specific case. By assessing your circumstances, our family lawyers will provide all the legal guidance that you will need. To get a clearer idea on these issues, it is advisable that you speak with a family law expert.
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