Am I able to claim spousal maintenance?

Published 28 Mar 2019

Separation from a spouse or a de facto partner is generally a difficult time. On top of any emotional hardship you may go through, there's also the possibility that you're experiencing financial hardship as well. Depending on your scenario, you might discover that you're eligible for spousal maintenance under the Family Law Act 1975.

What is spousal maintenance?

Generally better known by it's American counterpart name of alimony, spousal maintenance is designed to provide you with assistance from your former partner to cover living costs after your separation or divorce.  It's meant to provide you with financial support if you require it, and depending on your circumstances. This can come in the form of a lump sum or periodic payments, depending on what's finalised during your family law property settlement. 

Spousal maintenance is of a similar nature to child support. However, receiving one doesn't necessarily exclude you from the other. 

How do I know if I'm eligible for spousal maintenance?

Before you can claim spousal maintenance, there is strict criteria you need to meet. You will have to show the Court that:

  • You cannot adequately provide for yourself, and require the financial support.
  • Your partner is in a financial situation where they're able to provide the support to you.

To demonstrate you need the assistance you'll have to prepare details around your current situation, as well as providing a budget for moving forward to show how long you'll need the support for. Spousal maintenance is generally only supplied for a given length of time. The Court will also look into your former partner's income and situation to confirm whether they're in a position to supply the support to you. 

There are many reasons why you might receive the maintenance. These include:

  • You're supporting a child under the age of 18 from the relationship you had. 
  • You are unable to work, due to either your age or a condition or disability that you're living with.
  • Over the course of a long relationship with your former partner you've lost the necessary skills to get work. 
  • You're able to present some other strong reason for why you're unable to support yourself after your separation. 

Make sure you're getting the right advice and support moving forward after a separation or divorce. Malouf Solicitors are experts in family law, and we're here to assist you throughout the process. Reach out to a member of the team today. 

Please call us on 02 8833 2000 to speak with a lawyer

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