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Home | Family Law | Spousal Maintenance

Spousal Maintenance Requirements

A spouse or de facto partner is liable to maintain the other spouse or partner to the extent that they are reasonably able to do so only if the other spouse or partner is unable to support themselves adequately for the reasons set out below.

Firstly, a spouse or partner must be unable to support themselves adequately then the Court must be satisfied that the other spouse or partner has the capacity to pay a sum of spousal maintenance.


The factors considered in relation to present and future needs in a financial settlement are also considered when determining whether a party is eligible for spousal maintenance. Some examples are:

  • The age and state of health of each of the parties;
  • The income, property and financial resources of each of the parties and the capacity of each of them for appropriate employment;
  • Whether either party has the care of a child of the marriage who is under 18 years of age;
  • The responsibilities of either party to support themselves and anyone else, including children;
  • The eligibility of either party for a pension, allowance or benefit;
  • Whether the spouse or partner can enjoy a standard of living that is reasonable when all of the circumstances are considered;
  • Whether the payment of spousal maintenance to a party would increase the earning capacity of that party by enabling them to train or study or establish himself or herself in a business or otherwise to obtain an adequate income;
  • The duration of the relationship and the extent to which it has affected the earning capacity of the party seeking spousal maintenance;
  • Any child support that a spouse or partner has, is or might be able to provide for a child of the marriage; The availability of spousal maintenance is in addition to the availability of child support payments, so it is possible that a party with sufficient means may be required to pay both child support and spousal maintenance to their former partner.

Did you know?

Spousal maintenance orders tend to be relatively short term and usually operate until a final property settlement is determined or for a defined period after a property settlement.

Spousal maintenance can paid be either as a lump sum or a series of lump sum payments or as regular ongoing payments for a defined period of time.


What is spousal maintenance?

What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal Maintenance is money paid by one spouse (i.e. the paying spouse) to the other (i.e. the receiving spouse) in circumstances where the receiving spouse is unable to support themselves “adequately,” following separation.

To be eligible for spousal maintenance you need to show not only that you have a need for support but that the other party has capacity to pay.

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