Spousal Maintenance is the ongoing support you may be required to pay or may receive if your relationship ends. It is different, and can be in addition to, any child support payments.

Despite its wording, Spousal Maintenance applies not only to married couples but to de facto relationships and civil unions also.

When Katherine and Matt separated, Katherine remained in the home with their children while they worked through the division of their property. Unfortunately, Katherine’s income from part-time work was not enough to cover the mortgage, outgoings on the home, groceries and other expenses. What could she do?

Katherine saw a family lawyer and found out that she could apply to the Family Court for Spousal Maintenance – that is, support from Matt to help meet her outgoings. When Katherine added up all her outgoings, including reasonable amounts for entertainment, the gym and transport costs, there was a shortfall of $250 between her income and outgoings. Fortunately, rather than going through the Family Court, Matt agreed (after receiving his own legal advice) to pay $250 per week to Katherine so that she could afford to meet her reasonable needs.

Spousal Maintenance can be awarded on a temporary basis or longer term depending on the circumstances. A person in receipt of Spousal Maintenance will be expected to become self supporting within a reasonable time period.

These ongoing support payments are often made in situations where one partner has sacrificed their career to look after children. However, there are other situations where maintenance can be awarded. Even when there are no children in a relationship, one partner may still be required to pay ongoing support to the other depending on the circumstances.

If you have separated, it is worthwhile asking a family lawyer about Spousal Maintenance as you may be required to pay, or be entitled to receive, support payments.

If you require further information about Spousal Maintenance or any other family law matter, or you would like to arrange an initial consultation, contact us on (04) 473 6850.