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Family Law

Spousal Maintenance

Get in touch with one of our accredited specialists to guide you through your rights and responsibilities regarding spousal maintenance in Australia.

There are significant financial consequences of marriage breakdown, and consideration should be given to how things such as the mortgage, rent and bills will be paid following separation and while final property settlement is being resolved. For those people who do not have sufficient income to meet their own needs, and who perhaps have not been the primary breadwinner in a marriage, spousal maintenance payments may be critical and essential for daily living. These payments, which are known in other countries by other terms such as allowance or alimony, can help pay for basic expenses and relieve the financial pressure caused by the breakdown.

If and when usual financial support from a former husband or wife is inappropriately cut off following a marriage breakdown or divorce, it is important to act quickly to rectify the situation without there being financial disasters and without undue financial suffering.

When seeking advice about financial issues following marriage breakdown, please speak to one of our Accredited Specialists at Watts McCray as to your eligibility, or liability, for partner maintenance and how it might assist you in your situation. If you are unsure of your rights in any given situation, they will help to clarify the issue, explain what you may be entitled to, and explain the process of applying for maintenance payments from your former partner or spouse.

For more information, contact us to make an appointment to discuss spousal maintenance at one of our Sydney offices.

  • Spouse maintenance is a form of financial support and maintenance of one spouse by the other spouse – quite separate from property settlement. It is usually paid by agreement between two people following marriage breakdown, or can be ordered by the Court if agreement cannot be reached.

    Upon marriage breakdown, spouse maintenance usually takes the form of periodic monetary payments from one spouse to the other, lump sum cash payments, or payment of expenses for a spouse’s daily living costs such as mortgage installments, payments of rates, utilities, health care costs, and other household expenses.

  • A person to a marriage is liable to maintain the other person by way of spouse maintenance payments to the extent that the paying person has the capacity to do so AND the person receiving the financial support is unable to support himself or herself adequately by reason of:

    • having the care and control of a child of the marriage under the age of 18 years;
    • their age or physical or mental incapacity for gainful employment; or
    • for any other adquate reason, including such things as family income and resources, commitments to support oneself and children, and the
    • standard of living that is reasonable within the context of the family.