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Spousal Maintenance in Australia

July 25, 2023

Spousal Maintenance in Australia

In Australia, spousal maintenance is a payment made by one spouse to the other after separation or divorce, payable where one spouse has needs, and the other spouse can provide for those needs. Typically, if maintenance is payable, it is paid on an interim basis until a final property settlement.
Spousal support aims to provide financial support to a spouse unable to support themselves adequately due to factors such as age, illness, or caring responsibilities. This blog post will discuss the basics of spousal maintenance in Australia.


Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance

To be eligible for spousal maintenance, a spouse must demonstrate that they cannot financially support themselves. This could be due to factors such as:

• Age and health: If a spouse is older or has a health condition that prevents them from working, they may be eligible for spousal maintenance.

• Caring responsibilities: If a spouse has caring responsibilities, such as looking after young children or an elderly parent, they may be unable to work and may be eligible for spousal maintenance.

• Limited earning capacity: If a spouse has limited earning capacity due to factors such as a lack of education or work experience, they may be eligible for spousal maintenance.


Calculating Spousal Maintenance

The amount of spousal maintenance that is payable is determined by considering a range of factors, including:

• The income, expenses, and financial resources of each spouse.
• The age and health of each spouse.
• The care arrangements for any children of the marriage.
• The length of the marriage and the contributions made by each spouse to the marriage.
• Any other relevant factors.

Spousal maintenance payments can be made as a lump sum or periodic payments, depending on the circumstances of the case.


Duration of Spousal Maintenance

The duration of spousal maintenance payments will depend on the circumstances of the case. In some cases, spousal maintenance may be paid for a short period to allow the recipient spouse to become self-sufficient. In other cases, spousal maintenance may be paid for a more extended period or even indefinitely, mainly if the recipient spouse cannot become self-sufficient due to factors such as age or health.

Eligibility for spousal maintenance is based on various factors, including income, expenses, financial resources, age and health, caring responsibilities, and earning capacity. Calculating spousal maintenance involves considering these factors to determine an appropriate payment amount and duration.


If you are considering separation or divorce and have questions about spousal maintenance, contact Umbrella Family Law today via phone (03) 9279 6800 or email at theteam@umbrellafamilylaw.com.au.


For more information on spousal maintenance – visit the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia website.

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