MVAM v ASP – spousal maintenance success

Chambers member, Lady Deborah Chambers QC, was successful in the recent maintenance case reported as MVAM v ASP [2017] NZFC 7810 [4 October 2017]. Deborah’s client, Mr M, applied for interim maintenance which was opposed by Mrs P.  The Family Court awarded the husband interim maintenance of $16,378 per month, taking into account rent, legal and accounting fees and travel.

It is understood that this case is the first case in New Zealand of a male partner being granted spousal maintenance.  Of course, the Family Proceedings Act 1980 is gender neutral, so there should not be anything surprising about a man being granted maintenance.  Lady Chambers explains that the reason this is likely to be the first case is because in most relationships, men are able to meet their reasonable needs when a relationship breaks down because they have not undertaken the domestic role.  In this case, Mr M contributed as a full-time partner to his de facto wife and thus successfully applied for a maintenance order after a long relationship.