Likely Outcomes of a Family Law Spousal Maintenance Matter

3 real Family Law case studies detailing the circumstances, recommended steps to take and outcomes for those going through a Spousal Maintenance matter.

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.

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Case Study Two – Separated with two primary school aged children seeking spousal maintenance payment

Belinda and Brian have been married for 12 years and have two (2) children aged ten (10) and eight (8) years, who attend the local school. Brian works as a salesperson and earns $120,000 per year. Belinda works part time in retail and earns $32,000 per year.

After separation, Brian continues to make all home loan repayments for the principal residence where Belinda and the children remain living. Brian has rented a 2-bedroom unit close by where the children can stay with him five (5) nights per fortnight pursuant to the parenting agreement he has reached with Belinda. He also pays Child Support to Belinda for the costs of care of the children as assessed by the Child Support Agency.

Belinda makes a Court application for the payment of Spousal Maintenance by Brian as he is able to earn much more than she is. Belinda’s application fails. The Court is not satisfied that Brian has sufficient funds to pay Spousal Maintenance after he has paid his other liabilities, including the home loan payment, his rent and Child Support.

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The information in this article is not legal advice and is intended to provide commentary and general information only. It should not be relied upon or used as a definitive or complete statement of the relevant law. You should obtain formal legal advice specific to your particular circumstance. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation.

Solicitor Director
Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner