Spouse maintenance is financial support paid by a person to their former spouse or partner where that spouse or partner is unable to adequately support themselves. It is separate from child support or child maintenance. In the US it is known as alimony.

The court considers a number of factors in determining a spouse maintenance application, including;

  • the needs of the person applying,
  • the capacity of the former partner or spouse to pay,
  • the ability of the person applying to work,
  • the care of the children under 18 years,
  • the age and health of the parties.

Spouse maintenance can be a periodic payment; for example a weekly payment, a lump sum payment, or payment of specific expenses.

There are time limits on applying for spouse maintenance. If the parties were married an application must be made within 12 months of the date of divorce. If the parties were in a de facto relationship the application must be made within 2 years of the date of separation. The time to apply may be extended by the court, but this requires special permission and may not be granted.

PWB Lawyers can advise you in relation to making a claim for spouse maintenance, or opposing an application for spouse maintenance. PWB Lawyers can also assist you in drafting your settlement so as to best protect you from a future claim for spouse maintenance.

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