Input from experienced family lawyers can make the process of making and defending your spousal maintenance application less stressful. You want a lawyer with the expertise, experience and deep understanding of this family law area.
Even as you find qualified family lawyers to help with your case, here are a few things you should know going forward.
1. Spousal Maintenance Is Not Automatic
If you are seeking spousal maintenance, you should prove that you are unable to support yourself adequately and that the other party is in a position to reasonably support you.
How much you get and for how long will depend on so many factors, including your capacity to obtain gainful employment, your mental and physical health, your contribution, if any, to the earning capacity and resources of the other party, among others. Expert family lawyers can walk you through all the factors that may influence these decisions.
2. Time Limits Apply
As with other family law issues, there are time limits within which you should make your application for spousal maintenance. Sooner, rather than later is always better as family lawyers will tell you.
If you were married, then you have 12 months after the finalisation of your divorce. For de facto partnerships, the time limit is 24 months after separation.
3. Final Orders Vary
For one party, the final orders may dictate payment of the spousal maintenance as a lump sum. For another, it may be in the form of regular payments. There is also a difference in how long the spousal maintenance payments go on for different parties.
That being the case, you should discuss exactly what it is you hope to get with your family lawyers. While there is no guarantee that you will get precisely that, your attorney can put in the effort to get you a favourable order.
4. It's Different From Child Support
Just because you are receiving child support from your former spouse or partner does not mean you cannot still go ahead and ask for spousal maintenance. The two payments are, by their very definition, very different. Receiving one does not, in any way, make you ineligible to apply for and receive the other. Expert family lawyers can help you with both.
There is provision for spousal maintenance in the Family Law Act. With a basic understanding of the highlights outlined and the help of qualified family lawyers, you can go about applying for or defending your spousal support claim.
For more information, reach out to a family law attorney.