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What Is Spousal Maintenance

Spousal Maintenance is the financial support paid by a party to a marriage to their former spouse, or de facto partner, in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves.

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.

Where the need arises, both parties have an equal duty to support and maintain each other as far as they can. This obligation can continue even after separation and divorce. The extent of the support depends on what the other party can afford to pay. It is important to note that during the separation process, spousal maintenance does not form part of the asset pool.

Spousal maintenance essentially gives the spouse or former defacto partner the opportunity become more financially stable until they can financially support themselves, whether this be by re-entering the work force or other.

What does the Court consider when making a decision?

The Court considers the needs of the person requiring maintenance and the spouse’s capacity to pay, along with the following:

  • your age and health
  • your income, property, and financial resources
  • if you have care of the children
  • your ability to work
  • what is a suitable standard of living, and
  • if the marriage has affected your ability to earn an income.

 For more information about spousal maintenance arrangements, call us to discuss your matter.

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