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What is Spousal Maintenance and am I eligible for it?

Family Law

What is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal Maintenance also known as spousal support is a payment made by a person to their former spouse to assist them in meeting their needs after separation.

How is Spousal Maintenance paid?

Spousal Maintenance can be paid by way of weekly payments for a certain period of time or through a lump sum payment.

Am I eligible for Spousal Maintenance?

If you are married, you can apply for spouse maintenance.

Can I apply for Spousal Maintenance if I was in a de-facto relationship?

Whether you can apply for spousal maintenance after a de-facto relationship ends depends on the date you separated and the state you live in.

You can apply for Spousal Maintenance if you live in any of the capital territories (except Western Australia) and your relationship ended after 1 March 2009. If you live in Western Australia, you can apply for Spousal Maintenance if your relationship ended after 1 March 2002.

What if I get married?

Spousal Maintenance ends if you get married. If Spousal Maintenance was paid to you by a lump sum payment, you will not have to pay back any money to your former partner.

In what circumstances does Spousal Maintenance need to be paid?

The purpose of Spousal Maintenance is to assist a person to meet their needs after the breakdown of a relationship.

If you have a need for money because you are unable to meet your needs after your relationship ends then your former partner may be ordered to pay spousal maintenance if they have the ability to pay.

If you make an application for Spousal Maintenance, the court will assess your financial needs and the capacity of your former partner to pay maintenance. If your needs are reasonable and your former partner has the capacity to pay, then the Court may make Spousal Maintenance Orders.

How much Spousal Maintenance will I get if any

The amount of Spousal Maintenance the Court will order your former partner to pay, if any, will depend on your needs, that is how much money you need to meet your needs and the capacity of your former partner to pay. Amongst others, the court will also look at the length of your relationship and the level of financial dependency you had during your relationship.

If you are unable to meet your needs at the end of a de-facto relationship or marriage, we recommend you to get legal advice. Whether you are eligible for Spousal Maintenance should be considered as soon as you separate and should be taken into account when determining a property settlement between you and your former spouse. Get in touch with Atkinson Vinden Lawyers and speak with one of our expert Family lawyers, today.


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