Spousal Maintenance – When a Spouse Needs Support

Spousal maintenance is the periodic maintenance payable by one spouse from their income to support the other spouse. Spousal maintenance can apply to both married and de-facto couples, and maintenance can be paid either weekly or monthly.

In determining whether spousal maintenance is payable the law requires a determination of two major factors:

  • A need by the receiving party;
  • The ability of the financially more advantaged party to pay, after looking after paying their own expenses.

Spousal maintenance is quite different to child support (which is the contribution by each party for the support of any children of the relationship).

Some other factors to be considered in determining whether spousal maintenance is payable and, if so, the extent to which it is payable are:

  • The age and state of health of each of the parties;
  • The income earning capacity of each of the parties;
  • The financial resources of each of the parties;
  • Whether one party has the care of a child/children who are not yet 18 years of age;
  • The extent to which the payment of maintenance will enable a party to retrain; and
  • A standard of living that is reasonable in all the circumstances

If you have recently separated, you should know whether you may be liable for spousal maintenance or whether you are eligible for spousal maintenance. In both cases it is incredibly important that you obtain good legal advice as to your rights and obligations – contact our family law team for a no obligation discussion on where you stand.

David de Alwis

Partner, Family Law
Hope Earle Lawyers