Spousal Maintenance

Sharon Chandra is experienced in dealing with spousal maintenance disputes in NZ.

Spousal maintenance cash amount NZ

Spousal maintenance in NZ is an obligation to pay financial support to a spouse or partner unable to meet their reasonable expenses.

Liability to Pay Spousal Maintenance

When looking at NZ spousal maintenance, an assessment must first be made as to whether an obligation to pay spousal maintenance exists. There needs to be an inability by one spouse or partner to meet their reasonable expenses. The cause of that inability needs to be due to one of a range of factors, including:

  • How the functions were divided during the relationship
  • The likely earning capacity of each party
  • The standard of living during the relationship
  • Any physical or mental disability
  • The undertaking of a period of education or training
  • The inability of either party to obtain work that is reasonable and adequate

Amount of Maintenance to be Paid

Spousal maintenance in New Zealand is generally payable through ongoing periodical payments, e.g., fortnightly or monthly. Where an obligation to pay spousal maintenance exists, an enquiry needs to be made into what amount of maintenance is appropriate.

This enquiry requires an assessment of each party’s income and ongoing expenses, which will determine the shortfall for the lower-income earner and the surplus (if any) for the higher-income earner. This assessment will, in part, determine the amount of spousal maintenance payable.

Time Period

The period for which spousal maintenance is payable varies from couple to couple. If an obligation to pay spousal maintenance exists, often there will be a need to pay interim or temporary spousal maintenance to ensure both parties can meet their reasonable expenses.

There may also be a need to pay ongoing maintenance for a fixed period to allow the lower income earner to get themselves in a position to meet their expenses. This amount can be determined partly by whether the lower income earner is undertaking a period of study or training or their responsibility for the care of children.

How to Resolve Spousal Maintenance Disputes

Spousal maintenance can be agreed upon, often by negotiating between lawyers. Couples commonly agree upon child support and spousal maintenance together, but if that is to be done, it is important to consider what child support obligations exist.

If an agreement cannot be reached, it is possible to apply to the Family Court for spousal maintenance orders. It is also possible to apply urgently to court if someone is in urgent financial need and the other spouse or partner is not financially assisting them.

Don’t hesitate to contact Sharon to arrange an appointment if you would like assistance with spousal maintenance in NZ.