What is Spousal Maintenance?

‘Spousal maintenance’ is financial support provided by one party to the other after a relationship has ended (whether married or de facto).  Spousal maintenance is one of the orders a party is able to apply for under the Family Law Act when they are unable to adequately support themselves.

Generally, spousal maintenance is payable where:

  • one party has a need for financial support due to their income being less than their expenses;
  • the other party has the capacity to provide that support due to their expenses being less than their income; and
  • it is proper in the circumstances that the support be provided.

Typically, spousal maintenance is payable when one person is the income earner and the other has inadequate means of support as a consequence of the separation.

Maintenance may be payable for a short period of time or may be payable for a longer period of time.

Spousal maintenance can be paid under a Court Order or by a private agreement between parties.

Spousal Maintenance & Child Support

Spousal maintenance is not child support.  Child support is paid for the benefit of children.  Spousal maintenance is paid to support a party in need of financial support in addition to child support.  When considering whether spousal maintenance is required a Court will consider where any children of the relationship live but this is only one consideration.

If you are a party to a family law matter and are considering how spousal maintenance may be relevant to your property matter we encourage you to contact our office on 07 4963 2000 or via our online contact form.