Spousal maintenance is the financial support that one party to a marriage or de facto relationship may be required to pay to the other party after their marriage or de facto relationship breaks down.
Every spouse is liable to maintain the other in the event that their marriage or relationship breaks down. Western Australian law now extends these rights to parties in a de facto relationship including same sex couples.
The Family Court has the power to order one party to pay spousal maintenance to the other party if and only if:
- One person is unable to support himself or herself adequately; and
- The other person is reasonably able to provide such support.
There are many reasons as to why a party to a marriage or de facto relationship may not be able to support himself or herself after separation. These include being unable to work due to age, ill health, lack of skills or commitment to care for a child of the relationship or marriage who is under 18 years of age.
It is important to note that spousal maintenance is not child support. The Family Court can order you pay spousal maintenance in addition to any child support that your or the other party may be required to pay.
The obligation to pay spousal maintenance survives divorce and specific time limits apply.
This is a very complex area of law and each case will vary. The facts of your case will different to those of anyone else going through a marriage or de facto relationship breakdown. Before you apply for spousal maintenance seek the advice of a professional.
If you are looking to speak to a family lawyer in Perth about spousal maintenance, please contact our office to speak to one of our experienced solicitors.