Spousal Maintenance FAQ's

Referenced from www.familylawcourt.gov.au

Can anyone get maintenance?

Maintenance is not automatic. In deciding a maintenance application, a court considers the needs of an applicant and the respondent's capacity to pay.

Am I entitled to maintenance if I am now in a new relationship?

You are not entitled to maintenance if you marry another person. If you start a new de facto relationship the court will have regard to the financial relationship between you and your new de facto partner when considering whether you are able to support yourself adequately.

Is there a time frame for Spousal maintenance applications?

Applications for spouse maintenance if you are a party to a marriage must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final. Applications for de facto spouse maintenance must be made within 2 years of the breakdown of your de facto relationship. If you do not apply within these time limits, you will need special permission of a court. This is not always granted.

How long is spousal maintenance paid for?

Spousal maintenance can be paid periodically (i.e. weekly/ monthly/ annually) or as a lump sum. Periodic spousal maintenance can be ordered for a specific period of time (i.e. until the children attend school, parent can resume paid employment, time to enable the parent to study/update their skills, etc). A lump sum payment can be made where there’s a sale of an asset such as the family home and the other person requires funds to rehouse themselves.

Payments will end where the person receiving spousal maintenance remarries or dies, or the person paying maintenance dies. The person paying spousal maintenance periodically can make a fresh application if the situation has changed and they believe they’re no longer able to pay or the person receiving the payment no longer need it.