Am I entitled to spouse maintenance?

Spouse maintenance is different to child support or commonly called child maintenance. If you think you are entitled to spouse maintenance, you must not be able to support yourself adequately because you have the primary care of a child, of the relationship, under the age of 18 or be reason or age or physical or mental incapacity for appropriate gainful employment or any other reason as set out in the Family Law Act (s75(2)).

You may think to yourself, I fit into that category. In fact the majority of single parent families do find it difficult to make ends meet.  However to be able to have the benefit of spouse maintenance, the other party must have the ability to pay it without them being left destitute and taking into consideration their needs, and their financial responsibility to other dependents.

In the case where one party earns a significantly higher income, they cannot expect the other party to deplete their savings to support themselves.

It is not reasonable in some cases to expect one party to pay a nominated amount for an indefinite period to the other. It is usual for spousal maintenance to be paid for a finite period of time, eg – until a course of study is completed or until the Children finish school. The Family Law Act (s81) specifically asks the Court to make orders to finalise the financial relationship between the parties.

So you are now wondering how spouse maintenance is worked out when separating the assets.  Essentially there are two elements that the Court needs to be satisfied of:

  1. That you can show a financial need ie – your weekly income is insufficient to meet your weekly living expenses;

  2. That your former spouse has the financial capability to pay spousal maintenance ie – their income exceeds their weekly living expenses.

If you believe that you may be entitled to spousal maintenance, please do not hesitate to contact us on 5679 8016 or

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