Your financial obligation to your spouse and children may not end once your relationship does.
There are two different types of maintenance that can be sought in the family law process;
- Spousal Maintenance
A spouse may have the right to seek maintenance from their former partner in the event they are unable to adequately support themselves due to the following;
- They have care and control of a child of the marriage; or
- They are unable to be gainfully employed due to their age or a mental or physical incapacity.
Spousal maintenance can be paid either via regular payments or a lump sum amount and can be sought during the negotiation stage of your property settlement. However, when determining whether it would be just and equitable for spousal maintenance to be paid the outcome of any property settlement must be considered.
- Child Support
There are two ways in which the payment of child support can occur – privately or through the Child Support Agency.
Upon separation parents can come to a private agreement regarding the payment of child support. This agreement can cover the amount payable and the division of any living expenses and generally involves the funds being direct deposited from one parent bank account into the other. This agreement can remain “informal” and verbal between the parties or alternatively it can be formalised into a Binding Child Support Agreement.
It is important to note that child support itself, while it can be addressed during the negotiation stage of your property settlement or parenting order, it is considered its own distinct branch of family law and therefore, if finalisation is sought then it must be done so through its own separate document.
Alternatively, if the Child Support Agency is preferred then the Agency will determine and assess the amount of child support that will be payable. This means that there is no further obligation on the paying parent to contribute to school fees, medical bills or other living expenses. This is because the Agency considers this to be covered by the amount of child support that they determine to be reasonable in the circumstances.
Contact our office to arrange a FIXED FEE initial consultation with one of our family law solicitors for assistance in determining whether spousal or child maintenance applies to your situation.