Spousal maintenance is financial support paid by one party to another following separation. Spousal maintenance is intended to financially support the spouse and is a separate payment to child support.
Under the Family Law Act 1975, a person has a responsibility to financially assist their spouse or former de facto partner, if that person cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their personal income or assets.
There are time limits associated with making an application for spousal maintenance, which is why it’s important to get legal advice after you separate from your partner.
If you were married, an application for spousal maintenance needs to be made within 12 months of the date of your divorce.
If you were in a de facto relationship, an application for de facto partner maintenance needs to be made within 2 years from the date of separation.
If you do not make an application within these time limits, you will need to seek leave of the Court (special permission) to bring an application out of time. There is no guarantee that the Court will allow your application to be brought out of time.
In determining an application for spousal or de facto partner maintenance, the Court must examine each of the parties financial circumstances, including the inability of a party to support themselves, as well as the ability of the other party to support the person applying for maintenance. Orders for maintenance are not automatically made just because the applicant cannot financially support themselves.
Equally, if your ex-partner is seeking that you pay them spousal maintenance, you should seek legal advice straight away.
At Turnbull Legal Solutions, we can provide you with expert advice about spousal maintenance.
For a no obligation initial appointment, please contact us on 1300 101 529.