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Spousal Maintenance is financial support provided by one partner to the other to assist with their everyday living expenses. It can be paid periodically, for instance week by week, or by way of lump sum payment.

For married couples, Spousal Maintenance can be claimed during the marriage or following separation.

For de facto couples, Spousal Maintenance can only be ordered once the relationship is broken down.

Spousal Maintenance may be payable:

  • On an urgent basis;
  • By way of lump sum payment;
  • On an interim basis until a final determination of your matter;
  • On a final basis for a specified period;
  • On a final basis indefinitely, until varied by subsequent Court Order.

How do you qualify for Spousal Maintenance?

You qualify for Spousal Maintenance if you can establish the following two criteria:

(1)            You have a need for financial support as you cannot meet your reasonable living expenses from your personal income or assets.

(2)            Your spouse has the income earning capacity to pay you Spousal Maintenance.

In determining these matters, the following factors are taken into account:

  • Your age and health;
  • Your income, property, and financial resources;
  • Your ability to work;
  • What is a suitable standard of living;
  • With whom the children live;
  • If the marriage has affected your ability to earn an income.


Are there any time limitations on claiming Spousal Maintenance?

For married couples, you must make a Spousal Maintenance Application within 12 months after your Divorce becomes final.

For de facto couples, you must make a Spousal Maintenance Application within 2 years after the date your relationship ended.

If you have missed the relevant time limitation period, it is possible for you to seek permission from the Court to file a Spousal Maintenance Application but this is not granted automatically.

Where to from here?

We have been successful in assisting clients with preparing and defending Applications for Spousal Maintenance. If you need advice or assistance in this area please call Kathy Matri or Kristina Kuskoff on 02 4322 0251.