Case Study One – Spousal maintenance options when separated with a young baby and no access to funds
Janine has been staying at friends’ homes with her infant since separation a few weeks ago. She cannot work due to her infant’s dependency on her and has no other access to funds for hers and her baby’s needs. She and her Specialist Family Lawyer have made a number of requests to her ex-partner, Jeremy, for funds to support them, however, all requests have been refused. Jeremy is employed in an executive position in which he earns in excess of $250,000 per year.
Janine’s Specialist Family Lawyer assists her to apply for legal finance to cover the costs of Court proceedings until she can access some of the funds that are being held by Jeremy. She is also advised to make an application for a Child Support Assessment for the baby and to approach Centrelink to claim the Parenting Payment and other benefits to which she is entitled including Family Tax Benefit.
Janine starts Court proceedings including for urgent and interim Spousal Maintenance. The first Court date listed urgently two (2) weeks after her application is filed. On this occasion, Janine can establish to the Court that he has surplus funds after paying his own expenses to cover Janine’s expenses. The Court awards Janine $750 per week in urgent Spousal Maintenance, until the Court can consider any evidence in a more detailed manner at a later date.
There is a further Court date six (6) weeks later, after the parties have had an opportunity to put further evidence before the Court. In this period, Janine’s Specialist Family Lawyer obtains Jeremy’s financial documents to clearly prove to the Court that Jeremy has sufficient funds to pay $1,500 per week to cover the Janine’s expenses including for her to rent accommodation until she receives her final property division.