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Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance is financial support paid from one party to another following a relationship breakdown. Spousal maintenance can apply in both marriages and de facto relationships, and normally involves the payment of money in a lump sum or in periodic payments. It exists to ensure the financially weaker party of a relationship can support themselves following separation.


Honan Family Law is experienced in spousal maintenance and can provide you with clear, compassionate advice on your rights and responsibilities, including whether you meet the eligibility criteria for spousal maintenance and negotiating payment arrangements on your behalf, if necessary. Feel confident in your separation knowing you are financially secure and be confident in beginning your next chapter. 

Am I eligible for spousal maintenance?

The Family Law Act provides spousal maintenance is payable to a spouse or de facto partner where they are unable to support themselves adequately. This may be because:

  1. they have care and control of a child of the relationship who is under18 years;
  2. of their age or physical or mental incapacity for appropriate gainful employment; or
  3. any other adequate reason.

Is there a time limit to apply for spousal maintenance?

You can only make a claim for spousal maintenance if you apply to the Court within 12 months after your divorce order has taken effect or if you are in a de facto couple, within 2 years of your date of separation.

However, the Court may grant you leave to apply after the end of this period, if the Court is satisfied that hardship would be caused to you or your child if leave was not granted.

My ex-partner is claiming spousal maintenance against me. Can I prevent this claim?
The only way to extinguish your ex-partner’s right to claim maintenance against you is by way of a financial agreement (LINK) in relation to spousal maintenance.  Whilst consent orders can also address the issue of spousal maintenance, those orders cannot finally extinguish your former partner’s right to spousal maintenance as the orders can later be varied by the Court in some circumstances.

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