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Spousal maintenance

When couples who have been married, or who were in a de facto relationship separate, there is sometimes a need for one of the parties to continue to financially support the other. This is known as spousal maintenance.



Who is eligible for spousal maintenance?

In order to obtain a court order for spousal maintenance, you must show that you are unable to adequately support yourself (for example, this could be because of your age, a medical condition or if you are caring for young children). The other party must also have the capacity to contribute to your financial support, after taking into account their own reasonable costs of living.


When is spousal maintenance paid?

Generally, spousal maintenance will be paid before a final property settlement is in place. This is so that the person making a claim for maintenance can support themselves and any children while they wait to receive their final property settlement. However, in certain circumstances (for example when the asset pool is small and one party has a substantial income) spousal maintenance orders can operate for a period of years following the final property settlement.


Getting advice

Spousal maintenance can be an extremely technical area of law and detailed legal advice should be sought, whether you wish to seek or resist an order for maintenance. 


How we can help you

  • Our team has many years experience in advising clients who are seeking spousal maintenance orders, and we can advise you as to the most appropriate type of maintenance order for your particular circumstances.
  • For clients who wish to resist an order for spousal maintenance, we can provide advice as to the reasonable amount of support to be paid and the duration of these payments.

> Read more about spousal maintenance in our eBulletin: Pay up! De facto couples now covered by spousal maintenance laws


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