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Spousal Maintenance

Most Australians are familiar with the term ‘alimony’, from reading about celebrity divorces or watching American television shows.

In Australia alimony is referred to as spouse maintenance, and is possible in both marriage and de facto separations.

If a spouse is unable to support themselves adequately, usually because of parenting responsibilities or poor health, their partner may be liable to pay spouse maintenance. In deciding whether assistance is needed, any Centrelink income is ignored, and the standard of adequacy will depend on the means and lifestyle of the parties – what is ‘adequate’ for the partner of a multi-millionaire would be rather more than that for an average suburban house-maker, for example.

However, any income – and the earning capacity – of the claiming party are significant. In most cases the courts will look at what a person is reasonably capable of earning, not what they choose to earn. The neurosurgeon who chooses to work as a part-time cleaner may still be assessed on the basis of their earning capacity as a neurosurgeon.

In the ordinary suburban family situation, the usual problem is not proving a need, but rather the ability to pay. The major bread-winner, after he or she has housed themselves, supported themselves, and paid child support will often have little ability to pay, and for that reason spouse maintenance is not the norm in middle income families.

It is possible to cash out spouse maintenance as part of a property settlement. The spouse claiming maintenance receives more cash in return for waiving future maintenance rights, but if there are children involved, care needs to be taken, as an arrangement may be liable to be cancelled if they could suffer hardship.

How We Can Help

The Quinn & Scattini Family Law Team can give you expert advice about a spouse maintenance claim, whether the claim might be by you or against you. We also offer practical and experienced advice if appearing before the court is unavoidable, and provide you with the best legal representation if court-ordered agreements are required. With over 40 years’ experience, our Family Law Team are experts in the family law field. The team also boasts an Accredited Family Law Specialist.

Initial Consultation

Attending an initial consultation, at any of our local offices, is the essential first step.

The initial consultation provides you with an opportunity to meet your dedicated lawyer, discuss issues, identify your options, map solutions and provide an estimate of costs. Lasting up to one hour, our initial consultations provide the perfect opportunity to have a no obligation, confidential discussion about your family law matter.

In addition, the time spent provides you with an opportunity to assess whether our family solicitor is the right one for you during this important and often stressful transition in your life.

Payment Options

We understand that the urgent, and often unavoidable, nature of family law matters may leave you financially blindsided.

If eligible, we may be able to represent you on a ‘deferred fee basis’. This arrangement means your legal fees can be paid at pre-determined intervals for example, following the sale of a property or at the conclusion of your matter. Our expert lawyers will keep you up-to-date with costs, allowing you to stay in control of spend.

To determine your eligibility, call us on 1800 999 529 or submit an online enquiry below. This aspect can also be discussed during an initial consultation.

Please note, we do not offer ‘no win no fee’ arrangements for family law matters.

Legal Aid

Quinn & Scattini Lawyers do not do Legal Aid for family law matters.

Quinn & Scattini Lawyers are preferred suppliers of Legal Aid for criminal law matters only.

If you require detailed information on the Legal Aid process, eligibility requirements or would like to make an application for a family solicitor, visit Legal Aid Queensland’s website or access the Factsheet ‘Can I get Legal Aid’.

Why Choose Us?

You will be talking to a real expert, local to you. You will not be treated like a file number but as a real person, and a person going through a difficult and stressful experience. Get expert advice, not just what you want to hear, in a language you can understand, not legal jargon.

Office Locations

Our expert family lawyers are available at any of our local offices.

Get In Touch!

Book an initial consultation, submit an online enquiry below or speak to an expert family lawyer on 1800 999 529.

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