Spousal maintenance (support) is where one person pays an amount of money periodically to help financially support their ex-partner because they are unable to adequately support themselves. This obligation can continue even after separation and/or divorce. However, this is not an automatic right.
Under the Family Law Act, a person has a responsibility to financially assist their spouse, if that person cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their own income or assets.
When deciding on a maintenance application, a court will consider the needs of the applicant and the respondent’s capacity to pay. A court considers the following about both parties:
- age and health;
- income, property, and financial resources;
- ability to work ;
- what is a suitable standard of living, and/or
- if the marriage has affected your ability to earn an income.
The court will also takes into consideration, the living arrangements of any children of the marriage.
Unfortunately, De facto partners cannot make an application for spousal maintenance under the Family Law Act. However, maintenance is still available to De Facto couples.
Our experienced family law team can advise as to your eligibility, or liability, for spouse maintenance and how it might assist you in your situation.