Spousal maintenance is support paid by a party to a marriage or de facto relationship to the other party after the breakdown of the marriage/ de facto relationship. Under section 72 of the Family Law Act 1975, spousal maintenance is payable to a party where he or she is unable to support him or herself adequately and the other party has the capacity to pay spousal maintenance to the first party.
There is a requirement that the first party be unable to support him or herself because he or she has the care of a child under the age of 18 years,because of his or her age or physical or mental incapacity for gainful employment or for any other adequate reason, having regard to a number of factors set out in section 75(2) of the Act.
These factors include:
- The age and health of the party;
- The parties’ income, property and financial resources;
- The parties’ capacity for gainful employment;
- Whether a party has care of a child under the age of 18 years.
In determining the amount of spousal maintenance payable, the court will give consideration to a standard of living that is reasonable in all of the circumstances. Reasonable does not necessarily mean the standard of living that the Applicant lead prior to the breakdown of the relationship however this is factor that the court will consider.
Spousal maintenance may be paid through regular periodic payments of may be a lump sum payment. It is usually payable on an interim basis until the parties finalise a property settlement or for a period sufficient to allow the payee to obtain employment that enables him or her to meet their reasonable outgoings.
Whether spousal maintenance is payable and the amount that is payable very much depends upon the particular facts of the individual case to discuss the issue of spousal maintenance further please contact one of our experienced family lawyers.