Spousal Maintenance

If you can’t support yourself financially after a divorce or separation you may be able to claim financial support from your ex partner.

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Why you need a family lawyer for
spousal maintenance

Financial Assets

Explaining the process of spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance is financial support paid by one party to another other party who is unable support themselves financially after a separation. The process can often involve complex terms and conditions, so we can help you understand how the law will apply to your individual situation.

Timely Legal Services

Assisting you to create a spousal maintenance order

Spousal maintenance orders must be obtained through the court, so it is important to seek legal advice before proceeding. Our family lawyers are well informed on court procedures, so can guide you every step of the way through the legal proceedings if you wish to obtain a spousal maintenance order.

Dispute Resolution

Helping you understand your rights

It can be tough after separation to understand your new financial position without your partner. We can inform you on what to expect after a separation, including your rights and responsibilities regarding spousal maintenance, whether it be financially supporting your ex-partner or seeking financial support from your ex-partner.

Helping negotiate terms and solving disputes

Disputes can often arise during the spousal maintenance process, particularly if one party does not agree with the terms of the arrangement. A family lawyer can assist with the negotiation between parties and ensure both parties understand the terms of the agreement and that these are applied in accordance with the law.

Finalising the spousal maintenance agreement

Spousal maintenance can become an ongoing process as circumstances evolve over time for both parties, however it is important to get the initial agreement finalised. We can help you avoid any unnecessary delays and have the initial agreement finalised as soon as possible so you can move on with your life.

Frequently asked questions

Spousal maintenance is defined by the Family Court of Australia as ‘financial support paid by a party to a marriage to their former husband or wife in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves’. These payments put the supported partner in a position where they are able to provide for themselves financially moving forward.
The key question the court will ask when considering a spousal maintenance order is whether a party is unable to support themselves adequately. Other factors include:

- The age and health of the parties;
- The income, property and financial resources of each party;
- The physical and mental capacity of each party in relation to their ability to gain employment;
- Whether each party has care of a child of the marriage that is under the age of 18;
- Commitments of each party that are necessary to enable the party to support themselves and a child as well as any other person they have the duty to financially maintain;
- The eligibility of each party for a pension, allowance or benefit;
- The standard of living of the parties;
- The extent to which the spousal maintenance payment would increase the earning capacity of that party by enabling them to undertake a course of education or training;
- The extent to which the party receiving payments has contributed to the income, earning capacity, property and financial resources of the other party;
- The duration of the marriage and the extent to which it has affected the earning capacity of the party providing the spousal maintenance; and - If either party is cohabitating with another person and the financial circumstances relating to the cohabitation.

It is important to seek legal advice to clarify which factors will apply to your individual situation.
There are two forms of spousal maintenance, periodic and lump sum. Periodic spousal maintenance requires weekly, monthly or yearly payments. Lump sum spousal maintenance involves a lump sum being paid to the individual receiving the maintenance. The court can also make an order requiring the transfer of property or assets to a person as a form of spousal maintenance.
To apply for spousal maintenance there are certain time limits in which an application should be made. For married spouses, an application must be made within one year of the date a divorce order is made. For de facto partners, an application must be made within two years of the date of the separation. The court may give permission for an individual to apply for spousal maintenance out of the time limit if failure to make a spousal maintenance order would result in hardship to a child or the individual applying.
Periodic spousal maintenance is payments made for a fixed period of time, for example three years, however spousal maintenance orders can be made for payment for life in rare circumstances. Spousal maintenance payments can continue even after final property orders have been made.

A spousal maintenance order will end once the fixed period has lapsed, or when one of the following occurs:

- Death of the individual making the payment;
- Death of the individual receiving the payment; or
- Remarriage of the individual receiving the payment.

Why choose us

We will tell you the truth at all times

We will be honest with you about your prospects of success, issues that arise or the commercial viability of your matter. The first time you come to see us, we will tell you whether you even need a lawyer.

We will respect you and your situation

Our job is not to judge anything you may have done. Our job is to guide your matter and actions moving forward to give you the best possible outcome for you, both legally and personally.

We will listen and understand your needs

We will hear not just what you want to achieve, but why you want to achieve it. We will tell you what you need to do to achieve the outcome you are after, legally, practically and emotionally.

We will stand by you all the way

Your matter doesn’t finish once a court order has been made. We will stay on your matter right up until all of the outstanding issues have been dealt with and the court orders are complied with.

We can help you through all aspects of spousal maintenance.

Forge Legal’s family lawyers are specialists in all areas of family law and can assist you with all legal matters of spousal maintenance.

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In my darkest times Forge’s family first approach made me feel comforted and safe.

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