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Spousal Maintenance

The Family Law Act provides that a party to a marriage or a de facto relationship is liable to maintain the other party to that relationship only if they have capacity to pay that maintenance and only if the other party is unable to support herself/himself adequately whether:-

  1. by reason of having the care and control of a child of the relationship who has not attained the age of 18 years;

  2. by reason of age or physical or mental incapacity for appropriate gainful employment; or

  3. any other adequate reason.

Limitation date to seeking spousal maintenance?

A party can only make a claim for spousal maintenance if they apply to the Court within 12 months after the Divorce Order has taken effect or for de facto couples, within two years of their date of separation. 

However, the Court may grant a party leave to apply after the end of this period if the Court is satisfied that:-

  1. hardship would be caused to a party or a child if leave were not granted; or

  2. the circumstances of the party were such that at the end of the expiration period within which proceedings could have been instituted without the leave of the Court, the party was unable to support himself or herself without an income tested pension, allowance or benefit.

How can I spoke my spouse seeking spousal maintenance from me?

The only way to extinguish a party’s right to claim maintenance against you is by way of a Financial Agreement in relation to spousal maintenance.  Whilst Consent Orders can also address the issue of spousal maintenance, those Orders cannot finally extinguish a former partner’s right to spousal maintenance as the Orders can later be varied by the Court in some circumstances.

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