When a marriage or de facto relationship comes to an end, in some circumstances, one party may be eligible for spousal maintenance from the other party.
So, what is spousal maintenance? It is generally financial support (either cash or in-kind, or both) that one person pays the other person to help them after a separation.
If the parties were married, then an application for spousal maintenance should be made within one year of the date of divorce. If the parties were in a de facto relationship, then an application for spousal maintenance should be made within two years of the date of separation.
The Family Court of WA can order one party to pay spousal maintenance to the other, only if one person is unable to support themselves adequately and the other person is reasonably able to provide such support. Sometimes, one party is unable to support themselves adequately but the other party is not financially able to assist. It very much depends on the circumstances of each matter.
Spousal maintenance is often provided on a time limited basis. So, for example, one party may pay their ex a sum of money for say 6 months or a year in order to enable them to re-train or study or get back into the workforce.
Spousal maintenance should not be confused with child support payments; they are not the same thing. For information about child support, please see the Child Support page.
If spousal maintenance is likely to be a factor in your separation, it is best to get legal advice.
Spousal Maintenance FAQ’s
Spousal maintenance is a payment from one party to another, based on an assessment of needs and ability to assist. In short, if one party can afford to pay and the other party needs assistance the Court can make an order for spousal maintenance on an interim or a final basis.
Child support is usually assessed by Services Australia through its child support division and is a payment made by one party to the other to assist to meet the financial costs of raising a child. Spousal maintenance on the other hand is assessed by the Family Court and is generally a periodic payment made by one party to the other to assist in the payment of expenses such as cost of living and re-training.
Call West Family Lawyers on +61 8 9380 9111 to obtain advice specific to your situation.