What is Spousal Maintenance?

In Australia, spousal maintenance is a payment from one party to the other party following separation. This payment is designed to assist the receiving party in meeting their living expenses following separation. In America, spousal maintenance is referred to as ‘alimony’.

How do I know if I will need to pay spousal maintenance to my former partner?

When making an application to the Court for spousal maintenance, the party trying to claim spousal maintenance will need to demonstrate that:

  1. They are unable to meet their reasonable expenses on their current income; and
  2. You have a surplus of funds after you have met your reasonable expenses.


If it is the case that you have capacity to pay spousal maintenance and there is a need for it, the Court may make an order for spousal maintenance.

Applications for spousal maintenance need to be made within 12 months from the date of divorce for married couples or within 24 months of the date of separation for de facto couples. There are certain circumstances where a party can make an application outside of these time limits. Speak with a lawyer if you are unsure if these may apply to your situation.

How long do I have to pay spousal maintenance for?

Spousal maintenance can be paid as a once off lump sum payment or it can be a regular payment for an amount for a certain period of time, for example $400 each week for a period of 2 years.

If you would like any further information in relation to the information contained in this article, or would like to have a free consult with one of our lawyers, please do not hesitate in contacting our office.

This information does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with a lawyer to obtain independent legal advice relevant to your situation.

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