A party may have to financially support their former partner after the marriage or de facto relationship ends. The  family law legislation imposes an obligation on a person to support their former spouse if that person is unable  meet their own reasonable expenses. However, the court considers various factors, including the capacity of that  person to pay the spouse. There are time limits that apply for the applications for spousal maintenance.  

Spousal maintenance applications can be made on its own or in conjunction with financial or parenting orders.

You may receive or pay maintenance if: 

  • You are separated or divorced from a spouse.
  • You are divorced from a de facto partner, as well as a same-sex partner, after 1st  March 2009.
  • Your marriage has been annulled.

The right to regular payments of spousal maintenance ends:

  • If the individual getting maintenance gets married again unless there are particular circumstances.
  • If the person paying maintenance dies.

It may also end if the individual getting spousal maintenance adjusts their financial situation because:

  • They are in a new de facto relationship.
  • Their accountability for caring for children’s adjustments significantly.
  • Their earning capacity increases.

The Court believes the needs of an applicant and the respondent’s capability to pay. The following list contains what the Court considers about both of you:

  • Your age and Health
  • Your income, property, and financial funds
  • Your capability to work.
  • What is an appropriate standard of living and?
  • If the marriage has changed your ability to earn a salary.

The Court also considers with whom children under 18 years of age or adult children who are disabled live.

You must apply for a Court order:

  • Within 1 year from the date of your withdrawal
  • Within 1 year from the date your separation order is last.
  • Within 2 years from the date your de facto relationship ended. 

In order to end maintenance, you must apply to the court to change your maintenance orders. You can do this just as if you have last orders.