Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is financial support provided by one person to another upon the breakdown of their relationship.

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Maintenance can be paid by a husband or wife to the other, a de facto husband or de facto wife to the other or a same-sex partner to the other.

It is usually necessary to establish that the party seeking spousal maintenance is unable to adequately support themselves. This may be due to having the care of children, or an illness or disability that means the party is unable to work or has a limited capacity to do so. It is also necessary to show that the party who is to pay the maintenance has the resources to do so, while also supporting themselves and any dependents.

Spousal maintenance is generally payable for a finite period of time and usually during the period before a final settlement is reached. However this is determined by the parties’ circumstances and maintenance may be sought and payable after finalisation of property proceedings. Unless in special circumstances, time limits apply to maintenance applications.

Once a divorce has been finalised, a claim for spousal maintenance must be filed within 12 months. For de facto couples, claims must be commenced within 2 years of the relationship ending. It is possible to seek leave to make a claim once these limitation periods have passed but only in limited circumstances.

The team at Taussig Cherrie Fildes can help you in determining whether you have a potential claim for spousal maintenance and the type of orders (ie. lump sum, periodic, capitalised) that suit your circumstances. Our team can also provide advice when a spousal maintenance claim has been made against you, including whether the claim has any prospect of success and what amount you may be reasonably liable to pay and for what period of time.

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