Spousal maintenance is the responsibility of one party to a marriage to financially support the other person after separation or divorce.
Spousal maintenance is not automatic. After separation or divorce, there is no automatic entitlement to receive spousal maintenance from your former partner. In most cases, maintenance is only payable where one partner cannot reasonably support themselves and the other person has the capacity to pay maintenance.
In most cases, the law requires you to try to resolve disputes before going to court. It is often a good idea to try to reach an agreement on maintenance when you are negotiating a property settlement. This way all financial issues can be resolved at the same time.
If you cannot reach an agreement with your former partner, you can apply to the court for a financial order. In order to be successful, it is necessary to demonstrate that you require maintenance and that your ex-partner is able to pay maintenance. In determining whether spousal maintenance should be payable, the court will consider factors such as:
• income, property, financial resources and debts;
• state of health;
• ability to earn an income (including whether this has been affected by the marriage);
• what is considered to be a suitable standard of living; and
• whether any children live with you or your former partner.
The court will make the financial order based on what is fair to both people.