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Spousal Maintenance

Mana Ghadirian-Marnani

November 9, 2021

If you have recently separated, you may be asked to pay, or be entitled to receive, spousal maintenance from your former partner.

  1. What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is a financial obligation payable by one spouse to support their other spouse following a breakdown of a marriage or de-facto relationship.

A Court may make an order that spousal maintenance is payable in circumstances where there is an income disparity and therefore one party is unable to adequately support themselves.

Spousal maintenance can also be agreed informally, through a binding financial agreement or through consent orders.

  1. What types of spousal maintenance are there?

The Court can consider 3 different types of spousal maintenance applications:

  1. What would a Court consider when making its decision?

The party applying for spousal maintenance must establish that they are unable to adequately support themselves and their former spouse is reasonably ably to provide them with support.

The Court considers a wide range of factors in deciding whether or not to make an order for spousal maintenance, including:

Matters to be taken into consideration by a Court are listed under section 75(2) (for a marriage) and 90SF (for de-facto relationships) of the Family Law Act 1975.

  1. Can I calculate how much spousal maintenance I may be expected to pay or be entitled to receive?

There are many variables involved in calculating spousal maintenance and every case is different. The main factor considered by a Court in determining how much spousal maintenance is payable is each parties’ income and reasonable living expenses, and the calculation depends on the type of application (urgent, interim or final).

  1. What time limits apply?

Strict time limits apply for making a spousal maintenance application.

If you were married, you have 12 months from the date of your divorce to apply for spousal maintenance.

If you were in a de-facto relationship, you have 2 years from the date of your separation to apply de-facto partner maintenance.

An extension may be granted outside of these time periods, but special permission is required from the Court and this is not always granted.

This short article does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied as such. For more information, get in contact with us today.

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Familylaw, spousalmaintenance

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Mana Ghadirian-Marnani

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