Spousal and De Facto Maintenance

Spousal and de facto Maintenance is when a partner must maintain their ex-partner financially after a relationship ends.

Who is eligible for spousal maintenance?

In Western Australia, maintenance is available to couples whether they have been married or in a de facto relationship.

Married couples can apply for spousal maintenance under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) De facto couples can apply for de facto maintenance under the Family Court Act 1997 (WA).

What factors are taken into account?

If a party cannot meet their reasonable expenses from personal income or assets, there may be an obligation on the other party to pay maintenance.

For example, if a party cannot adequately support themselves because of:

the responsibility to care for a child who is under 18 years of age;

their age or state of health prevents them from gaining appropriate employment;

the duration of the relationship and the extent to which it affected that party’s earning capacity.

Can you agree spousal or de facto maintenance?

During negotiations and dispute resolution, parties can agree the amount of maintenance paid and for how long it is paid.

If you cannot agree spousal or de facto maintenance?

If you still cannot agree, you can apply to the Family Court for a maintenance order.

Are there time limits?

A party must apply for a spousal or de facto maintenance order:

within one year of the date of a divorce order taking effect; or

within two years of the date the de facto relationship ended.

The permission of the Court is needed to apply outside of these time limits.

How can I apply for spousal maintenance?

An application for spousal maintenance can be made at any time during your separation/divorce process, or within one year after the divorce has been finalised. Only in special circumstances can applications for spousal maintenance be made at a later date than this.

A standard application consists of:

We are here to guide you through your application or response to an application for spousal or de facto maintenance

Perth divorce lawyers and specialists in de facto relationships, we are the experts you can trust in for spousal maintenance applications.  It’s always recommended that you seek tailored legal advice from a Perth family lawyer before claiming or paying spousal maintenance.

We are here to help you with advice and understanding – when you need it most. Book your phone call with a Perth family law specialist today.