What is Spousal Maintenance?
Spousal Maintenance is the ongoing financial support paid by one party to a marriage/defacto to the other party in circumstances where they are unable to adequately support themselves. Recent legislative changes in Western Australia mean these rights are now extended to same sex couples.
It is important to note that spousal maintenance and child support are not the same. While child support is paid to one party for the benefit of the children, the Court may order you to pay an additional amount in spousal maintenance.
What will the Court consider?
Maintenance is not automatic. In deciding a maintenance application, a Court considers the needs of both parties and their capacity to provide ongoing support.
A person may not be able to support themselves, following separation, due to illness, age, deskilling or child care commitments. The Court will take all factors into consideration prior to making orders.
What if we have already agreed on spousal maintenance?
There is no requirement needed to formalise this agreement with the Family Court. However, if you both wish to do so, then you can file a Consent Agreement (see consent orders).
Should I speak with a Family Lawyer?
CMS Legal can advise you on whether you are entitled to spousal maintenance, or how to respond if a claim has been made against you. It is important to note that you should act promptly as strict time limits apply to making a claim.