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Spousal maintenance and managing your finances post separation

Brittany Colussi
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11 April 2022

A family separation will impact your financial well being.  While this time in your life may feel daunting, it is important to take the time to step back and review your finances to ensure that you understand your income and your expenses.

If you find that your expenses are significantly higher than your income, and you believe that your former spouse may have capacity to assist you in covering the gap, you may be eligible to seek spousal maintenance.

How do I assess my finances?

In order to assess your financial circumstances, you should first calculate your income.  You should include all forms of income that you receive, including any Centrelink benefits or child support.

You should then create a list of your outgoings, these outgoings should include any payments you are required to make such as mortgage/rent payments, council levies, school fees, grocery costs, electricity and gas fees, care maintenance and fuel costs, phone and internet bills and insurance costs.  You should also ensure you include an amount for incidentals such as doctors' visits.

Preparing a document identifying your income and expenses is a bit like preparing a budget.  You need to be able to properly identify these things prior to the Court considering any Application for Spousal Maintenance.

What does the court consider when making an Application for Spousal Maintenance?

If you make an Application for Spousal Maintenance, the Court will consider what your and your former spouses' 'reasonable' weekly expenses are.  The Court will then consider whether the other party has any capacity to provide you with financial support, while continuing to meet their 'reasonable' weekly expenses.  The Court can make an Order for spousal maintenance if it deems it appropriate.

Once you have taken the steps to determine your financial position and you are ready to take the next step in the separation process, you should make an appointment to obtain legal advice.  We encourage you to contact our office to make an appointment with one of our solicitors to obtain advice on your situation on (07) 4963 2000 or through our online contact form below.