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VIC Spousal Maintenance Claim from Husband - What to Do?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Emerald Princess, 4 February 2016.

  1. Emerald Princess

    Emerald Princess Active Member

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    I have been separated from my husband since Sept 2015. I have now received a letter from a solicitor informing me that my former husband is requesting spousal maintenance.

    He is currently reliant on a means-tested disability support pension as he has chronic health issues. He's been on disability for the whole duration of our relationship (12 years). I was the sole breadwinner during our marriage. I work 2 jobs, one full-time and one part time. I have also accumulated superannuation.

    My husband is now seeking spousal maintenance payments on the fortnightly basis in the sum of $200 per fortnight. The letter asked that I provide the solicitor with a current copy of my super statement so 'that we can seek our client's further instructions'.

    My question here does he have a basis for this claim and will I have to pay? Should I seek legal advice or ignore this letter? If he takes it further is he likely to be granted maintenance and I'll have to pay? Is there a way I can get out of paying?
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Do you have kids with him?

    Look, he might have grounds for a claim but I'd suggest you don't agree to anything and if he wants, he can apply to court for spousal maintenance. He might find the cost of applying and getting a solicitor are just too expensive to make it worthwhile.

    I'd provide the solicitor with a statement from your superannuation, but I might not do it until I got a second letter. In short, procrastinate.

    Apart from the super what other assets do you share with him?
     
  3. Emerald Princess

    Emerald Princess Active Member

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    No kids. I share no assets with him. He has already obtained a solicitor because I have been sent the letter from one.

    If I do nothing and ignore this letter what's likely to happen? Will they send another then take further action? He is a vengeful person and I could see him spending the money (I have heard its about $2,500) to take this all the way to court just to make me suffer financially.
     
  4. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Nope, he'll have to spend heaps more than $2500 to get to court. He has probably spent close to that just getting the letter sent to you. If you had kids and he was primary carer that would be different.

    Have a read:
    Spousal Maintenance - Family Court of Australia

    I'd ignore the letter and make a sole application for divorce in Sept 2016, once you've been living separately for 12 months. After you get divorced, he only has a year (I think - but it might be 2 years) to initiate court proceedings. I'd suggest that if you play this smart, you'll not have to pay him any maintenance and you can keep all your super.

    My recommendation, ignore the letter, ignore the next one too, If you get a third letter, get back to us.
     
  5. Emerald Princess

    Emerald Princess Active Member

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    He can get maintenance before we divorce. He has already started proceedings now. Should I consult a lawyer? As I understand if I ignore the second letter he can make an application with a supporting affidavit to the court and that would be the 3rd letter and I wouldn't be able to ignore that?
     
  6. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Yup, he can get maintenance before you divorce, but by getting divorced ASAP, you're rushing him along. Have you done mediation? It is my understanding that you can't apply to court without mediation first.

    Now as far as affidavits, etc., yep, he can submit that he had to get a solicitor to write 3 letters - big deal. The only way he can get a cost order against you is if you completely refuse to negotiate and if it goes to court, the first thing magistrate will do is force you to mediate to come to a solution, so until that happens I reckon you do nothing..

    So feel free to go see a solicitor, but in my opinion, he might have grounds for spousal maintenance but I doubt it. And he is phishing.

    But - just checking - when you said that you don't share any assets with him, I just wanna check if you own a house, have shares, own a race horse, or a hamster. He has a claim on all those things even if you're the only one whose name is on the title / receipt...
     
  7. Emerald Princess

    Emerald Princess Active Member

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    I have super and own a car, but he doesn't drive so don't see him making a claim on that. So I will still be forced to mediate, that will cost me money still won't it?

    No, I haven't done mediation.

    I moved out and cut him off completely. That website says 'parties intending to apply for financial orders are encouraged to resolve disputed issues before filing an application'. I don't want to do mediation. Can they compel me to do that and if so, do I have to see him? And if I have to go to mediation, obviously I'd be encouraged to settle with him for an amount? If I refuse to mediate what would happen? Is that in my best interests?
     
  8. Emerald Princess

    Emerald Princess Active Member

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    I just read there is compulsory mediation and 'Parties who do not make a genuine effort, may be referred by the court, back to the mediation process and/or be made liable for the other party's court costs as well as their own'. I don't want to see him!
     
  9. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    Mediation is the best way to resolve stuff. Better than a judge deciding. You can be in separate rooms, but I reckon you just might avoid mediation and court. I just don't know if he'll get spousal maintenance and if he did, it would not be for long. So is it really worth his effort for $200 a fortnight? It will cost a few grand to get to court, probably more than he'll get in maintenance.
     
  10. Emerald Princess

    Emerald Princess Active Member

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    So at mediation, they will encourage me to settle and agree on an amount to give him? If the whole point of mediation is to settle the issue, how could I go and refuse to give him anything?
     

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