On separation from your spouse or de facto partner you may be entitled to financial support. This is referred to as spousal maintenance.
Separating couples are often able to agree about spousal maintenance. Those agreements can be documented either by consent orders made by a court or by a binding financial agreement. Sometimes those agreements have the effect of ensuring that one or both parties give up all rights to ask for future spousal maintenance.
If you have separated from your spouse or de facto partner and cannot agree about this issue you can apply for a court order (under the Family Law Act 1975) compelling your spouse or former partner to financially support you.
Before it will make an order for spousal maintenance you will need to convince the court:
Most often spousal maintenance is paid for a defined period of time depending on individual circumstances.
A claim for spousal maintenance must be filed with the courts within 12 months of the divorce becoming final, or in the case of a de facto relationship, within 2 years of separation.
There is no substitute for specialised family law advice so if you have questions about separation or want to know your legal position please feel free to book a confidential appointment. Our specialist family lawyers can help you in determining whether you have a valid claim for spousal maintenance and the type of order to suit your circumstances. We can also provide advice when a spousal maintenance claim has been made against you; including whether the claim is valid and what amount you may reasonably liable to pay and for what period of time.
For answers to frequently asked questions about spousal maintenance please go to our FAQ page.