Spousal Maintenance

In what circumstances do I have to pay spousal maintenance? 

Under the Family Law Act, in certain circumstances a person may be liable to financially assist their spouse or their former de facto partner if they are unable to do so themselves.

What is Spousal Maintenance?


There are two types of spousal maintenance applications which the Family Court of Australia defines as follows:

1. Spouse maintenance – is financial support paid by a party to a marriage to their former husband or wife in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves.

2. De facto partner maintenance is financial support paid by a party to a de facto relationship that has broken down to their former de facto partner in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves.

In what circumstances does spousal maintenance apply?


There are circumstances in which a party may be required to make spousal maintenance contributions including:

1. Where a party is responsible for the care and control of a child.

2. If a party suffers from any physical or mental incapacity, limiting their chances of obtaining work in the future.

3. Any reason deemed adequate by the Court.

The court looks at a range of factors to determine whether to make an order for spousal maintenance including age, care of children, health of a party and other factors.

The court in making a spousal maintenance order will look at whether the paying party is able to afford to pay spousal maintenance and maintain themselves.

Spousal maintenance, in most circumstances, is only for a short period of time such as until the property settlement has concluded.


How we can help?


It is important to seek legal advice before making an application to the court for spousal maintenance or de facto partner maintenance. For more information on this topic, contact one of our family law specialists on 131 LAW or simply get in touch by email using the link below.
Lara Wentworth