Spousal Maintenance where Couples are Married or in a De Facto Relationship
Following separation one party in a marriage or a de facto relationship, which includes same sex relationships, may be unable to financially support him or herself adequately. That person may be entitled to what is called “spousal maintenance” where the parties are married and “maintenance” where a de facto relationship exists.
For de facto couples where one party (“the Applicant”) may apply to the court for maintenance from the other party (“the Respondent”) certain conditions must be satisfied. If they are satisfied then the principle is, that a party to a de facto relationship must maintain the other party only to an extent that the Respondent can reasonably do so and, only if the Applicant can prove that he/she is unable to support him or herself adequately. For that purpose the Court will ignore any Centrelink or social security benefit the party may be receiving at the time.
Where couples are married or in a de facto relationship the Court is required to take into consideration, when deciding whether the Applicant can obtain maintenance in their favour, the following:
- Whether they have the care and control of a child of the marriage or relationship who is under 18 years old
- The age of the Applicant or whether their physical or mental incapacity affects their ability to work; and
- Any other adequate reason.
It is expected by the Court that both parties will make reasonable efforts to find paid work if they can. Of course, the Court accepts the need for a parent to care for children, especially when they are pre-school age.
If you are in need of maintenance or maintenance is being sought from you then we will be happy to assist you with your legal rights and responsibilities.