What is spousal maintenance?
Spousal maintenance is a payment from one financially stronger spouse to ensure their former financially dependent partner does not suffer undue hardship as a result of their separation. It is based on the principle of: ‘From those who can to those in need”.
Spousal maintenance may take the form of a regular cash payment or a lump sum. It is typically utilised to make up any shortfall in payments of household bills, utilities, rates and other day to day expenses that the financially weaker party cannot afford to pay on their own.
How do you make a spousal maintenance application?
To bring a spousal maintenance application, a party must be able to show that:
- there is a genuine need for spousal maintenance to be paid; and
- the other party has the capacity to pay spousal maintenance.
Complex case law interprets how this applies to your case. Our Family Law team advises on all forms of spousal maintenance, including applying for urgent, interim and final orders.
What are the limits on spousal maintenance?
There are limits on spousal maintenance, including:
- It is usually only paid for a short period of time;
- It is often used to help one party to retrain, study or enter the workforce;
- Strict timeframes for making an application: For married couples – within 12 months after a divorce; and for de facto couples – within 2 years after separation.
It is also important to know that your eligibility for spousal maintenance will be affected if you begin a new de facto relationship or remarry.
HHG Legal Group’s family law team can assist you to determine if you are eligible for spousal maintenance and we can provide you with advice in relation to the preparation of a spousal maintenance application to the Court.