A separation can be difficult, but the legal side of things doesn’t have to be. With help from WGC Lawyers, the process can be simplified so you can move on with your life. Having dealt with family law matters since 1972, we’ve gained a reputation as a trusted family lawyer Cairns residents can turn to for help getting through a separation or divorce, including property disputes. We’ll help you navigate the complexities of both, ensuring that you’re fully informed and can make the right decision at a time where important decisions about your future need to be made quickly.
On this page, you can learn more about court orders, spousal maintenance, maintenance orders and how these might apply to you. If you are in a situation where you need urgent financial maintenance, our expert team can help with that, too. Feel free to contact our team for assistance.
Recently separated? Know where you stand when it comes to divorce, children’s matters, property, dispute resolution and financial settlements. At WGC Lawyers, you can find a family lawyer in Cairns to help with separation challenges and issues.
Separation and Divorce Lawyers in Cairns
Ending a relationship can cause emotional, financial and personal distress and confusion. Our team of family lawyers in Cairns can help you navigate the complex legal matters around divorce and separation, negotiating and finding fair solutions on your behalf.
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is financial support paid by one party of a relationship to their former partner in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves. It can apply in cases of both marriage and de facto relationships. WGC’s team of divorce lawyers in Cairns can advise you on this complex matter.
What Orders Can a Court Make?
Courts can make the following maintenance orders:
- Payment of a lump sum
- Payment of a periodic sum
- Transfer of property
Orders can be made for a fixed term, for life or until further order and the court can otherwise impose conditions or make any other orders considered necessary.
Does Spousal Maintenance Law Affect Me?
Section 72 of the Family Law Act provides that a party to a marriage is liable to maintain the other party to the extent that the first party is reasonably able to do so if the other party is unable to support himself or herself adequately. Section 90SF of the Family Law Act contains similar provisions in relation to de facto relationships.
Maintenance orders can be made by agreement but failing agreement it will be necessary to make an application to the court. By consulting a family lawyer, Cairns residents who have recently separated or divorced can determine whether spousal maintenance law affects them.
When Does a Court Make a Maintenance Order?
A court must first consider if a party is unable to support himself or herself adequately whether:
- By reason of having the care and control of a child
- By reason of age or physical or mental incapacity for appropriate gainful employment
- For any other adequate reason
- If a court determines that a person is unable to support themselves adequately then it must consider whether the first mentioned party is reasonably able to do so
In applying these principles, the court must consider the matters referred to in section 75(2) for married couples and section 90SF(3) for de facto couples.
Relevant Factors for a Spousal Maintenance Order
In deciding to make a spousal maintenance order, the court will consider:
- The age and state of health of the parties
- The income, property and financial resources of the party
- Whether either party has the care and control of a child of the relationship
- The commitments to enable the party to support themselves and children
- The responsibilities of either party to support any other person
- A standard of living that in all the circumstances is reasonable
Keep in mind there is no such thing as “alimony” in Australia, which is an American legal concept similar to “spousal maintenance”.
Urgent Family Law Cases
Sections 77 and 90SG of the Family Law Act enable a court to make urgent maintenance orders if one party is in immediate need of financial assistance. In urgent cases, requests can be made for the court to determine matters relatively quickly. If you think this applies to your situation, consult a divorce lawyer Cairns locals depend on for a fast assessment of your individual circumstances.
How Can I Calculate Spousal Maintenance?
There is no online spousal support calculator like there is for child support, however, you can calculate spousal maintenance by calculating your taxable income and your necessary expenses then doing the same for the other party. If there is a shortfall for one party and a surplus for another party then it may be open to a court to make an order for the payment of spousal maintenance for a specified period until the person who is unable to adequately support themselves can get back on their feet.
Speak with a Family Lawyer in Cairns
Contact WGC Lawyers to speak to a separation and divorce lawyer Cairns residents trust, to assist with all separation challenges and issues. We can help you find out if you are eligible for spousal assistance and help with any other relevant family law issues you’re dealing with.
Contact us today and find out how we can help.