Ex Files: Must I pay my wife after separating?

Q: I separated from my wife two years ago. We have three children together, aged 4, 6 and 9. Since separating, my wife and children have remained living in the family home. I moved into a rental unit.

My wife works part-time for about 10 hours per week as a relief teacher. I have continued to run a profitable transport business I set up about 10 years ago. Since the separation, my wife has had access to all the income from the business. She can access all the relevant bank accounts and has a joint credit card.

I was shocked to receive a letter from her lawyer this week requesting spousal maintenance of $1500 per week on an ongoing basis. This seems a bit unfair given we have already been separated for two years and she can access the bank accounts. What is the legal position and how should I respond?

A: After separation, one party may need financial support from their ex-partner or spouse to meet their living costs while they re-establish themselves. Spousal maintenance is to be paid to the financially weaker party if they cannot meet their “reasonable needs” and the other party is able to provide financial support.

To read the full article on the NZ Herald website click here

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