At Barton Family Lawyers, we come to you as an experienced team in applying for and responding to spousal maintenance claims. We do our part to ensure our clients understand their rights and obligations throughout the process, providing trusted legal advice and guidance for a fair outcome. For spousal maintenance lawyers that assist in getting you on track through a difficult time in your life, think of Barton Family Lawyers.
A Trusted Spousal Maintenance Brisbane Service
Spousal Maintenance is a type of financial support paid by one party of a marriage or de facto relationship, to their former partner/spouse in circumstances where they are unable to adequality support themselves. Under the Family Law Act 1975, a person has a responsibility to financially assist their spouse, or former de facto partner, if that person is unable to meet their own reasonable living standards based on their individual income or assets. Speaking generally, to be eligible, there needs to be a significant disparity between the respective party’s income at the day of separation.
Many people do not actually realise they may have an entitlement to or obligation to pay spousal maintenance.
The Benefits of Using a Spousal Maintenance Lawyer
Understanding Your Eligibility
If you are unable to work due to illness, having care of young children, or have been out of the workforce for some significant time (and your capacity for employment is limited), and you are unable to financially support yourself from your own source of income, you may be eligible for spousal maintenance. This only applies if the other party possesses a much greater income and is able to support you financially. To understand more, our team are here to discuss.
Access to Estimated Calculations of Payment
There is no formula to determining a reasonable amount of spousal maintenance – it all depends on the individual circumstances of your case. Your need for financial support, and the other party’s capacity to provide that support, will be assessed based on the reasonability of each party’s day to day expenses.
Finances are Discussed
At Barton Family Lawyers, our priority is to ensure each party is able to agree on a mutual outcome that benefits you both. When it comes to payments, it all comes down to the individual circumstances of your case, and as mentioned, there is no formula to determining the final amount. In saying that, you can do a rough calculation based on a few fundamentals. Give us a call and we can discuss the best way for you to come to an estimated amount.
We Help You Understand Property Settlement
Obligations to pay spousal maintenance do not expire after a formal property settlement. Whether a party is entitled to the support after a settlement is completed completely depends on the circumstances of the case. When it comes to acquiring advice for such a process, we recommend getting in touch with our team of lawyers.
We Also Offer More Information
When it comes to situations like spousal maintenance, there is so much information to learn and understand. The best thing you can do is get in touch with Barton Family Lawyers, to ensure you have a reliable team on your side that can disclose such information, in a manner that is simplistic enough for you to understand. The last thing you need is stress, we do our part to eliminate that as much as possible.
Why Our Spousal Maintenance Lawyers are Trusted
Our team offer an abundance of industry experience spanning more than a combined 50 years. This has made us a reputable source, with our clients entrusting us to get them the outcomes they deserve. Family law can be intense, but we do what we can to make it stress free, easy, and fair. Get in touch with our team of lawyers today to discuss your spousal maintenance or maintenance claims and walk away feeling confident and comfortable about your future.
Work With Barton Family Lawyers Today!
As a trusted Brisbane family lawyer, we are here to make life that little bit easier on your behalf. Get in touch with our team now by calling us on 3465 9332 or reaching out via our online form to discuss your options.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal Maintenance is financial support paid by one party to a marriage/de facto relationship to their former partner/spouse in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves. Under the Family Law Act 1975, a person has a responsibility to financially assist their spouse/former de facto partner if that person is not able to meet their own reasonable living expenses from their own income or assets. Generally speaking, for a person to have an entitlement to spousal maintenance, there needs to be a significant disparity in the respective party’s income at the date of separation. Many people do not realise that they may have an entitlement to / obligation to pay spousal maintenance.
What is the difference between spousal maintenance and child support?
Spousal maintenance is paid for the support of your former spouse/partner. Spousal maintenance is not child support as child support is paid for the support of your children. The Family Law Courts can order that you receive spousal maintenance in addition to any child support you are entitled to receive.
What is the difference between spousal maintenance / spousal support and property settlement?
A property settlement relates to the division of assets of the parties following separation. This is different from spousal maintenance, which is paid for the support of your former partner.
What does a Court consider when deciding whether spousal maintenance is payable?
The necessary elements for a court to order the payment of spousal maintenance are:
- Capacity – That one party is reasonably able to support the other party;
- Need – the other party is unable to support themselves adequately from his/her own income earning capacity or financial resources by reason of:
- having care/control of a child of the relationship/marriage under 18;
- physical or mental incapacity to be employed;
- any other reason.
In determining a spousal maintenance application, the Court has regard to the following factors about both of you:
- your age and health;
- your income, property and financial resources;
- your ability to work;
- what is a suitable standard of living; and
- if the marriage/relationship has affected your ability to earn an income.
Am I entitled to spousal maintenance?
If you are unable to work, due to illness, having care of young children, and/or have been out of the workforce for a significant period of time such that your capacity for employment is limited, you may be entitled to spousal maintenance if you are unable to financially support yourself adequately from your own income and resources, and the other party has a much greater income than you, and is therefore able to assist in your financial support.
If you are working but your income is not sufficient to meet your living expenses, you may still be entitled to spousal maintenance, pending of course the other party’s capacity to assist in your financial support.
Your need for financial support and the other party’s capacity to provide it will be determined by both parties filing and exchanging a financial statement which sets out your income and living expenses. If the court determines that a spousal maintenance payment is necessary having regard to the financial need of one party and the financial capacity of the other party, the Court must then determine what payment it thinks is reasonable.
There is no formula for determining how much spousal maintenance is reasonable for you to be paid. It will depend on the individual circumstances of your case. Your need for financial support and the other party’s capacity to provide you with support will be assessed having regard to the reasonableness of each of your day to day living expenses. If your day to day living expenses are reasonable and your need for financial support is significant, the court can only make an order that the other party pay you a sum which is reasonable, having regard to their financial capacity to do so. The other party is entitled to apply funds to meet their own day to day living expenses first, before assessing their capacity to meet your financial needs.
In determining the amount of spousal maintenance the Court will give consideration to a standard of living that is reasonable in all the circumstances. Here, reasonable does not necessarily mean the standard of living that the applicant led prior to the breakdown of the relationship, as that can no longer be reasonable noting the parties now live in two separate households and their assets have been divided, however this is a consideration of the Court.
We recommend speaking to our team as soon as possible after separation, about your right to receive spousal maintenance from your former partner and the amount you might be entitled to receive.
How can I calculate spousal maintenance I may entitled to receive / required to pay?
As stated above, there is no formula for determining how much spousal maintenance is reasonable for you to pay/be paid. It will depend on the individual circumstances of your case. However, you can do a rough calculation of spousal maintenance payable/receivable, on a weekly basis, by doing the following steps:
- Work out your gross weekly income (check your pay slip) (where you are paid monthly/fortnightly, divide by the appropriate figure to get a weekly amount);
- Work out your income tax paid every week (check your pay slip);
- work out your child support payable (if any);
- Add up your reasonable living expenses (where they are yearly expenses/quarterly expenses, divide by the appropriate figure to get a weekly amount);
- Prepare an excel spreadsheet showing your income and expenses that you incur, as a weekly figure;
- Do the same for the other party;
- Consult with an experienced Brisbane Family Lawyer with the above information to determine the spousal maintenance you may be entitled to receive/required to pay.
Do I have to pay spousal maintenance?
If the other party is not able to support themselves adequately from their own income/resources and you have the capacity to support them after payment of your own reasonable living expenses, then you have a legal obligation to pay spousal maintenance to your former partner.
If you and your former partner cannot reach an agreement as to the payment of / amount of spousal maintenance to be paid to them, they may file an application to the Court seeking orders for you to pay spousal maintenance to them.
If you are worried about whether your former partner may have a claim against you for the payment of spousal maintenance, we recommend speaking to one of our Brisbane Family Lawyers at an early stage about your spousal maintenance obligations and the amount you may be required to pay. Generally, negotiations between lawyers at an early stage have high prospects of success in resolving issues relating to spousal maintenance.
If you are worried about whether your former partner may have a claim against you for the payment of spousal maintenance, it may be a good idea for you to keep the joint bank account open and joint credit cards available for them to use for their living expenses, until the parties reach an interim agreement in relation to spousal maintenance issues.
How long are spousal maintenance payments?
Spousal maintenance payments are not long term. They are intended for a discrete period of time following separation to enable the applicant to get back on their feet. Sometimes they will extend for longer periods of time to enable the applicant to retrain so they may obtain employment to enable them to financially support themselves. Usually, spousal maintenance payments will end once a property settlement is agreed upon between the parties or decided by the court. In certain limited circumstances, it is appropriate that spousal maintenance payments continue for a longer period of time, following a final property settlement order.
Is there a time limit for applications for spousal maintenance?
If you were married, you must make a spousal maintenance application within 12 months of the divorce becoming final. If you were in a de facto relationship, you must make a spousal maintenance application within 2 years of the breakdown of the relationship.
Do I have to pay spousal maintenance after our property settlement is finalised?
The obligation to pay spousal maintenance does not expire after you do a formal ‘property settlement’. Whether a party is entitled to spousal maintenance after a property settlement is completed, depends on all the circumstances of the case, most relevantly whether the applying party still has a need for support.
We recommend you obtain advice from our team about whether you may be obligated to pay ongoing spousal support after your property settlement is finalised. Pending the circumstances of your case, there may be a way of protecting you from a claim against spousal maintenance after formalisation of your property settlement.
How do I obtain spousal maintenance?
If you are unable to support yourself adequately from your own income and financial resources, we suggest that you make a proposal to the other party regarding the payment of spousal maintenance to you to help you cover your living expenses for the time being, until more final arrangements are made regarding the division of your assets. Alternatively, if an agreement cannot be reached, you may need to file an application to the Court to obtain spousal maintenance payments from the other party.
For more information in relation to similar topics, see our article:
- Does your financial agreement protect you from a maintenance claim?
- Financial Agreements & Spousal Maintenance and Income Tested Benefits
- Hiding Assets in a divorce
- Why you should formalise your property settlement
- When can future inheritances be taken into account
- How do I apply for property and financial orders
- Spousal Maintenance ordered 17 years after separation
- Going back to work after divorce
- When can future inheritances be taken into account
- How do I apply for property and financial orders
- Am I in a de facto relationship
If you think you may be entitled to spousal maintenance or you may be at risk of a spousal maintenance claim, you should seek legal advice from an experienced family lawyer as soon as possible.
Barton Family Lawyers are experienced in applying for and responding to these types of claims. Get in contact with us to book a reduced rate initial consultation to discuss your rights and obligations further.
Courney is the only person I would call if I ever had any legal issues. Her help, knowledge and experience had helped tremendously through the rough times during my children and property court battle. I highly recommend Barton Family Lawyers!
Found Courtney and George not only to be very professional but also very caring and courteous and I would strongly recommend using their services to family and friends if ever needed.
Courtney is a master at her profession.She promised me she would get my power back ,and she delivered.She is a balance of great empathy and fights for you all the way ,the outcome was exactly what i needed.I highly recommend her and her amazing team,to get you the outcome you want.
I had Cortney help me with my family court matter. I couldnt have asked for a better team. From the start the care and understanding from the whole team at Barton was outstanding. I will be forever grateful for the outcome. If you are after a awesome family lawyer look no further. The photo never would have been possible without Courtney and her team. Thank you
Thank you to Courtney and the Barton team for guiding me through a difficult and confusing separation process. Barton Family Lawyers kept me updated, acted immediately on my questions and instructions and most importantly put my best interests forward at all times.
There really is no way to put a price on the stress relief Barton’s exceptional service, understanding and drive for results brings.
Highly recommended if you want the work done right, first time.
Courtney and her team have gone above and beyond for myself and children. I’m so appreciative of them fighting for what was fair for myself and children.
Courtney knows how to deal with narcissistic behaviour and she had given me support and guidance through this traumatic experience.
Courtney is open with you and honest. Every email she sends or receives comes back to you and she will let you know what is important or not. They helped me through the process with detailed billing.
I could not have found anyone better to deal with my difficult separation than Barton family firm.
Everyone in the team I can’t say how grateful I am to everyone who work on my case. Thank you is not big enough. But I am thankful.
So far so good Chris, Rachel and the team at Barton Family Law, have been a exceptionally patient & helpful with my somewhat difficult case. As a veteran things can be quite complicated with regards to family matters. Would highly recommend 🙂
Barton Family Lawyers, or the ‘Dream Team’ as I like to call them. I cannot recommend Courtney, George and the team at Barton Family Law highly enough.
The last couple of years have been the worst experience of my life, but I was backed and supported 100 percent by the whole team at BFL. Nothing was ever an issue, me asking thousands of questions, me emailing stacks of questions, me crying on the phone was never an issue. I had nothing but support and expert advice the whole way through.
I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am today without everything Barton Family Lawyers did for me. Courtney, George, Tenayah, Ellie, Alice, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything. The whole team got me the absolute best results and I will forever be thankful.
To the queen of her team, Courtney, thank you. Thank you for absolutely everything. From day one you have been right at my side and have made me stand up and fight for what is right. You have given me back my power and I can never thank you enough for it all. You have been my voice when I wasn’t able to speak and have fought for me the whole way though.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I will scream the praise of you and your team to anyone who will listen.
To whom it may concern,
Ellie Prior and Barton Family Law were great to work with during a difficult time. Separations are tough, but Ellie consistently kept her cool and remained positive. Ms Prior offered timely expert advice/options for each circumstance throughout the proceedings.
Gladly, an agreement was reached that both sides were comfortable with. My family’s future is bright and I appreciate Ellie’s hard work.
Lawyers are expensive… Although, I am preferential to the Barton Family Law billing process. IMO Barton’s billing is superior to the law firm I was previously engaged with. Basically, Barton Family Law quote in stages for their work and don’t hit you with surprise extra charges. Three times money was left over in trust to be used for the next stage in court. My feeling throughout the proceedings was that Barton’s billing was fair.
Separations are stressful, Ellie and the Barton Family Law crew helped to make it as painless as possible.
Thanks Ellie, Courtney and the Barton Crew.
Amazing, amazing people, amazing location, just amazing everything
Thank you Courtney for your excellent service. Amazing professionalism & so efficient also showing compassion & understanding..the BEST in her field & I was so fortunate to have her support & advice…highly recommend.
Courtney and her team have been terrific in assisting me with my matter. Excellent communication, swift action and a very professional service – I highly recommend Barton Family Lawyers.
I can’t thank Courtney enough for her dedication to achieving not only the best outcome for me but also what is fair and right.
My children and I are forever grateful.
The team at Barton Family Lawyers went above and beyond to enable a property settlement which enable me to move forward with my life. I highly recommend Courtney and the team for all your family law needs.
With experience and know how far beyond her years. I cannot thank or recommend anyone any higher than Courtney.
Having worked with many lawyers over the past 10 years she not only did the legal work to its absolute finest but more importantly she got my daughter back in my life at a time when at one stage I had given up hope.
She is such an authentic person & while she won’t sugar coat anything she is someone you want in your corner.
I highly recommend Courtney Barton, of Barton Family lawyers, for matters including domestic violence and property settlement. The legal system is very traumatising for domestic violence victims and Courtney helped me navigate this, with empathy and her extensive knowledge of the legal system. Courtney clearly explained the process and my options. Courtney helped enable me to successfully seek a domestic violence protection order, and a favourable property settlement outcome.
Divorce is never an easy journey for any individual regardless of their background, occupation or gender. Particularly so, as emotions are running high, all logic flies out the door and extreme frustration looms over one’s mind making it impossible to make a rational decisions. In a such volatile journey, having the right legal partner makes all the difference. Barton Family Lawyers have helped me keep my emotions at bay and enabled me focus on the issues at hand with a rational mind and thereby allowing me to reach a good result in my property settlement and my divorce.
I was not just a mere client but a lawyer (who practised a different area of law) myself and therefore questioned, examined thoroughly every advice and process Barton Family Lawyers gave and undertook in the family court. I wanted a lawyer who would strongly advocate for me, communicate my arguments/issues with the court and the other side like I would have if I was to defend myself. Barton Family Lawyers did exactly that. They exceeded my expectations and advocated for me so strongly in court or whilst communicating with the other side, but most of all, took all reasonable endeavours to enable me to reach my desired result. I strongly recommend Barton Family Lawyers to anyone who is looking a lawyer that is worth every dollar, produces outstanding quality work and wishes to feel the same vindication I felt through this journey.
From the moment we met Courtney we knew she meant business and that’s exactly how she performed right from start to finish.
She totally exceeded our expectations and we highly recommend her.
Thanks so much Courtney. A job well done and thanks to you a five year old has been reunited with his family
Courtney and her team are nothing short of amazing. Prior to and on the day of our case, the level of organisation and professionalism that was shown was incredible. We got the result we were after and I would recommend Courtney and her team to anyone. ThankYou again to the Barton Family Law team!
Excellent law practice. Courtney is amazing and the support staff are second to none. Very happy with their conduct of my matter and with the result. Highly recommended
I highly recommend Courtney and her team. I was amazed at their response time and their professionalism. They helped my daughter to navigate through a very difficult settlement, giving expert advice and making her feel at ease. There were tight turn around times and they not only met those timeframes but exceeded our expectations. Thank you Courtney, George and Tenayah, you are all amazing.
I highly recommend Courtney for child matters. She is highly professional, very responsive and efficient. Her knowledge and experience with Family Law helped to achieve the best possible outcome for my daughter. I couldn’t have gotten through this difficult time without her honest approach to working with me as a client.
I highly recommend Barton Family Lawyers, Courtney is an amazing lawyer coupled with high level professionalism, empathic and efficient it is an unbeatable combination. She is able to handle any client’s emotional response with calm and confidence, I would not have been able to cope without her direct honest approach. The bonus is that Barton Family Lawyers are fixed fee and very clear so you know where you are a each stage. No surprises at the end and always available. Thank you so much.
Courtney was amazing from our first meeting. The fixed fees are great as you know what you are in for cost wise. She was super organised and and professional and got me a great outcome in the end. A big thank you to both Courtney and George for all your hard work.
Courtney and her team are nothing short of absolutely astounding. Courtney recently represented my partner through an absolutely awfully vindictive and horrid domestic violence and property matter with very very short notice coming up to a court judgment.
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