Spousal Maintenance is financial support paid by one party to the other.

Spousal Maintenance will only be payable where:

  1. A party is unable to support themselves; and
  2. The other party has the capacity to provide financial support.

An Order is made to “top up” any shortfall that a party needs to support themselves.

The Court will make such Order as it considers proper.

Are you eligible for Spousal Maintenance?

A party may be eligible for Spousal Maintenance if they are unable to support themselves because:

  1. They have the care and control of a child who has not attained the age of 18 years; or
  2. They are unable to obtain employment due to age and physical or mental incapacity; or
  3. Another adequate reason.

Even if a party is eligible to receive Spousal Maintenance, the Court must still assess if the other party has the ability to pay Spousal Maintenance. The other party will only have the ability to pay Spousal Maintenance if they have excess income after paying their reasonable living expenses.

Applying for Spousal Maintenance

An application for Spousal Maintenance must be made within 12 months of your Divorce becoming final. If not made within that time, you will need to seek the leave of the Court.

Matters that may be taken into account by the Court in assessing whether an Order for Spousal Maintenance should be made include:

  • The age and health of each party.
  • The income, property and financial resources of each party.
  • The physical and mental capacity of each party to engage in employment.
  • Whether a party is caring for a child of the marriage.
  • The standard of living that is reasonable in the circumstances.
  • Whether an Order for Spousal Maintenance would assist in improving earning capacity ie. Education or training could be undertaken.
  • How the marriage affected earning capacity.
  • Any other matter the Court views as relevant.

Practical Tips

  • Spousal Maintenance may be payable but you must consider the legal cost of making the Application.
  • Property Settlement can include a “lump sum” component in respect of Spousal Maintenance.
  • Any Application for Spousal Maintenance must be made within 12 months of your Divorce becoming final.

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