Spousal maintenance or spousal allowance

An Order for Spousal maintenance means that a spouse with sufficient means may, in some circumstances, have the responsibility of financially assisting their former spouse if he or she cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their personal income or assets.

In an Application for Spousal maintenance the Court takes into account a variety of factors. These factors include:

The needs of the applicant;
The other spouses capacity to pay;
Which party a child may live with;
The age and health of the parties;
The income and property of the parties; and
Whether the marriage has affected a party’s ability to earn income.

Limitations and entitlements

Entitlement to spousal maintenance ceases upon one party remarrying, and if a party enters into a de facto relationship, the Court will consider this in assessing whether that party is able to adequately provide for their own support.

It is important to note that applications for spousal maintenance must be made within 12 months of your divorce becoming final. If you do not apply within this time, you will need special permission of a court.  This is not always granted.

Spousal maintenance is now also available to persons who were in a de facto relationship.  Prior to 1 March 2009 only person who were married were able to apply for spousal maintenance.

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