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Where there has been a breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship and one party is unable to support themselves adequately, an application for spousal maintenance may be made.
Financial support will only be provided for reasonable expenses that cannot be met from the disadvantaged party’s personal income.
A party can apply to the Family Court or Federal Magistrates Court for an order of spousal maintenance. The application must be made within 12 months of a divorce order becoming final. If the parties were considered to be in a de facto relationship, the application must be made within 24 months of the breakdown of the relationship.
In assessing applications for spousal maintenance the court will consider the parties’ age, health, income, assets, debts, ability to work, the parties’ customary standard of living and how the relationship impacted the parties’ ability to earn an income.
Spousal maintenance may also be determined by agreement between the parties, and this agreement may be formalised with the Court’s approval by way of Consent Orders.
Re-marriage will negate your eligibility for spousal maintenance orders made in your favour. Spousal maintenance will also cease should you become financially stable, improve your earning capacity or if there is a change to your child care needs.
For assistance in assessing your eligibility for applying for a spousal maintenance order, or for disputing a spousal maintenance application or order brought against you, contact our offices.
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