Spousal maintenance is one of the most controversial aspects of a divorce. Australian family law states that a person has a responsibility to financially assist his or her spouse if that spouse cannot financially support him or herself from his or her own income or assets, making that person eligible for spousal maintenance. This can be arranged by agreement; if there is no agreement, spousal maintenance can be ordered by the court. After the particulars of your spousal maintenance agreement or order have been set, the only hurdle left is deciding on how and when the payments will be made. Depending on the circumstances, the court can order one of two different payment options: periodic or lump-sum.
Collecting Spousal Maintenance
Since spousal maintenance is based upon financial need and ability to pay, certain circumstances dictate how and when payments are required to be paid. Depending on how the supporting spouse receives his or her income, maintenance payments may be set up in one of the following ways:
- Periodic payments. This method allows for payments that add up to an annual sum. Although these payments can be made weekly, monthly, or yearly, they must add up to the agreed-upon sum. Periodic payments are generally a percentage of the payer’s income.
- Lump sum. With this method, the complete payment of the determined sum for the required timeframe is paid at one time.
The majority of payments are made under the periodic option. If for some reason your ex attempts to get out of paying by adjusting his income or other means, the court has all the options open to it when a person breaches a court order. Spousal maintenance is a complex issue and needs to be dealt with calmly, professionally and within the rules.
Are you having difficulty getting your ex to adhere to the terms of your divorce? If you are experiencing delays in receiving spousal maintenance or having problems working out how you will pay it, we’re here for you. Contact us today at (08) 9214 3887 to get the guidance and specific advice you need. Call now or come see us at our Perth office to get help settling all your divorce needs.