Spousal Maintenance in Australia: Get a Detailed Guide

May 20, 2024    divorcelawyersperthwa
Spousal Maintenance in Australia: Get a Detailed Guide

Separation can be a complex and emotional experience. One of the most complicated issues that you need to navigate during this time is spousal maintenance. This blog aims to provide a clear and brief understanding of this compensation in Australia.

If you’re considering separation or going through the process, this guide will help you. This piece will explore details about this obligation and separation lawyers in Perth. Let’s continue reading to find out.

Spousal maintenance in Australia is a legal requirement. It requires one partner to support their former or de facto mate financially. It is enforced if they are unable to meet their expenses. The Family Law Act 1975 states that both parties in a marriage or relationship have an equal responsibility to support each other. It is to be continued even after separation or divorce. So, let’s take a look at the details.

What is a de facto law?

According to the legal norms of this law, a man and a woman living like a married couple are entitled to get every possible legal assistance. They can get this aid on their property settlement as well as partner support as a result of the separation.

How is the payment set on?

The amount of such compensation a court orders is determined on a case-by-case basis. However, it depends on several factors, including:

  • The applicant’s needs
  • The respondent’s capacity to pay
  • The claimant’s age and health
  • The contesting partner’s income, property, and financial resources
  • The petitioner’s ability to work

Spousal maintenance vs. child support

These are different from each other and are paid weekly from the remunerator’s income to support the recipient.
A person can apply for spousal maintenance claims at any time after separating from their partner. However, if they were married, they must apply within 12 months of their divorce being finalized. De facto partners have two years from the breakdown of their relationship to apply.

How is it paid?

The payment can be made while the divorce proceedings get finalized. Alternatively, you can also pay in a lump sum once the property settlement process is complete. The settlement of spousal maintenance can be ordered for an indefinite period. Sometimes, it can also be ordered for a specific duration with a set end date.

What is alimony?

It is also known as partner support and is a legal obligation. In this case, one mate pays the other after a separation or divorce. It can be temporary or permanent. Moreover, spousal maintenance can be terminated in several circumstances, including:

  • Death of either spouse
  • Remarriage of the defendant’s spouse
  • Cohabitation of the dependent spouse
  • Recipient reaches retirement age
  • The recipient cohabitates with a partner for a specific time

This can also be modified or canceled if there is a significant change in the circumstances of either spouse. Think about a change in income or living situation. For example, if the paying partner’s livelihood decreases significantly. Or if the recipient mate becomes self-sufficient, alimony may be changed or withdrawn.

How is the amount calculated?

The sum is determined based on a few factors. They are discussed below:

  • Your income, debts, resources, etc.
  • Your health and age
  • Your ability to earn a livelihood
  • The suitable standard of living in the area you are based on
  • If you have children, the court will decide who they get to live with

How to avoid paying for spousal maintenance?

Individuals can consider formalizing a binding financial agreement (BFA) with their other halves. In this case, both of the parties mutually decide on the terms of upkeep or waive it. In addition to this, by demonstrating limited financial capacity when making a payment, you might be able to reduce the sum.

Conversely, by proving that the receiving party has sufficient income and no genuine need for maintenance, etc., you might be eligible for termination of alimony. However, navigating these options usually requires legal consultation.


Summing it up, this kind of maintenance in Australia serves as a safety net after separation. Its obligation ensures that both partners can maintain a comparable standard of living. The legal aspects can be a bit complex. Hence, the separation lawyers in Perth can help you out in such tricky situations. They can assess your financial condition and help you make or settle a claim. Their service can be a crucial first step in understanding your rights and navigating the complexities. The local divorce lawyers in Perth are your concerned lawyers who will carefully figure out the nature of your case. Then, they will implement cutting-edge legal ideas and strategies.

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