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BARKER EVANS

Spousal Maintenance & Child Support

Spousal and de facto maintenance is financial support provided by one party of a relationship to the other after separation or divorce. The primary function of maintenance payments is to ensure that either party maintains their standard of living after the relationship breakdown. Spousal and de facto maintenance can be made with a lump sum payment, payments made periodically, or until the recipient can support themselves.

The Family Law Act provides that spousal or de facto maintenance payments should be made if the former partner cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their personal income or assets alone. When an application is made to the Court requesting maintenance, the Court considers the needs of the applicant, and the respondent’s ability to pay. As such, the Court considers factors such as either party’s ability to work, their income, and their standard of living. The Court will also consider whether there are any child support payments, or any other agreements or orders made already in Court proceedings.

Spousal and de facto maintenance payments can be a complex issue in certain circumstances. For example, a party generally cannot receive spousal or de facto maintenance if they marry another person. There are also time limits for requesting the Court make orders for maintenance.

If you have any concerns relating to spousal or de facto maintenance, we can assist you with:

  1. Estimating spousal or de facto maintenance payments
  2. Negotiating with your ex-partner or their lawyer for spousal maintenance
  3. Making an application to the Court for spousal maintenance

Child support refers to ongoing financial support to children, usually under 18 years. This may cover a child’s expenses such as food, schooling, housing, clothing, medication and other health expenses, extra-curricular activities, and other lifestyle costs. Child support can be paid in conjunction with spousal or de facto maintenance payments.

Child support arrangements can be made between parties through agreements such as a Binding Child Support Agreement or a Limited Child Support Agreement. The Agreement must be registered with Services Australia.

Alternatively, you can have child support determined by Services Australia. Services Australia can assess how much support should be paid and will subsequently collect and distribute such funds to the receiving parent. This assessment considers the income of the parents, the age of the child, and the amount of time (nights) the child spends in the care of each parent.

If you have any concerns relating to child support, we can assist you with:

  1. Estimating child support payments
  2. Assisting with international child support issues
  3. Drafting and negotiating a Binding Child Support Agreement
  4. Registering a Binding Child Support Agreement with Services Australia