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Spousal and de-facto maintenance is financial support that is paid by one partner to the other partner where the other partner cannot support themselves financially.

You are entitled to spousal or de-facto maintenance if:-

  1. You cannot pay your reasonable needs or expenses from your income or resources; and
  2. Your partner has the capacity and can afford to pay you spousal or de-facto maintenance.

There are various considerations to be considered when determining whether spousal or de-facto maintenance is to be paid including: –

  • Your age and health;
  • Your income;
  • Any property you own and whether you have financial resources;
  • Your ability to work in paid employment;
  • Whether your relationship has affected your ability to earn income;
  • If there are children, who the children live with, children are those under 18.

How is Spousal or de-facto maintenance paid?

Spousal or de-facto maintenance is often paid periodically for a certain period of time, such as until children are old enough to attend school, (so that you can return to paid work when the children are at school), or to allow time to study or re-train to gain skills to be able to obtain paid employment.

Spousal or de-facto maintenance can also be paid in a lump sum.

What is the difference between Child support and spousal or de-facto maintenance?

Child support is different from spousal or de-facto maintenance. Child support are payments to support the child/ren of your relationship until they turn 18 or otherwise complete secondary schooling.

Spousal or de-facto maintenance is for your support as a partner of a relationship.

Additional information relevant to spousal or de-facto maintenance payments includes:-

  • If you re-marry spousal maintenance payments stop.
  • If you enter into a de-facto relationship the financial circumstances of this new relationship are considered when determining whether de-facto maintenance should be paid.
  • Time limits can apply when applying for spousal or de-facto maintenance as follows: –
    • Once a Divorce Order has been made a spousal maintenance application must be filed with the Court within 12 months from the date of the Divorce Order.
    • If a de-facto relationship ends an application for de-facto maintenance must be filed with the Court within 2 years from the date of the end of the de-facto relationship.