How Much Spousal Maintenance Am I Entitled To?
After the breakdown of a marriage or a de facto relationship a person may find themselves in a weak financial position after the financial support once provided to them is withdrawn or decreased. This change in financial support can leave a person in a situation where they are unable to support themselves. Additional circumstances may also affect that person’s ability to earn an income, such as caring responsibilities for the children of the relationship, medical issues or lack of work experience. In some circumstances a person can apply to the Family Court of Western Australia for maintenance, which is similar to what other countries call “alimony”. It should be noted that child support, which is to support the children, is separate from maintenance, which is to support a party to the relationship. Maintenance orders can be periodic (ie: $x per week) or a lump sum of cash or a portion of other property such as land. They can be made in urgent situations on short notice, or as part of a final property settlement. Commonly, maintenance is ordered on an interim basis pending a final property settlement as the Courts will attempt to finalise the financial relationship between the parties once and for all. The purpose of maintenance is to bridge the gap between a party’s income and their reasonable needs. In order to determine an application, the Family Court must consider 2 questions:
- Does the Applicant have a need because they are unable to adequately support themselves?
- Does the Respondent have the capacity to meet the needs of the other person?