Spousal maintenance is an important step to consider in family law matters, given that it provides financial support to the financially disadvantaged spouse following the breakdown of a relationship. Unlike child support, which assists with children’s expenses, spousal maintenance assists one partner in meeting their day-to-day living expenses.

In our latest video, our Special Counsel Ailsa Day explains the concept of spousal maintenance and sheds light on the circumstances in which a party may be eligible to apply.

Eligibility for Spousal Maintenance

When a relationship ends, certain circumstances may lead to eligibility for spousal maintenance. These include:

(a) Having the care of a child under 18 years of age from the relationship;

(b) Inability to work due to age, physical or mental incapacity; or

(c) Any other adequate reason deemed by the Court.

Court’s Considerations

The Court examines three main questions when evaluating an application for spousal maintenance:

(a) Is there a ‘need’ for financial support from one party to the other?

(b) If so, does the other party have the ‘capacity’ to pay spousal maintenance?

(c) If the answer to both is affirmative, the Court assesses the reasonableness of the maintenance sought.

Calculating Spousal Maintenance

Determining the amount of spousal maintenance to pay effectively involves a mathematical assessment. The Court considers:

(a) The income and weekly living expenses of the financially disadvantaged party and whether there is a shortfall; and

(b) The other parties’ income and living expenses and whether there is a surplus.

If one party demonstrates a need for financial assistance and the other party has the capacity to provide the financial support, the Court can order the financially stronger party to assist with the living expenses of the financially weaker party.

Balancing Reasonableness

The Court evaluates the reasonableness of the amount and type of expenses sought by the requesting party. This analysis is done while considering the party’s standard of living during the relationship – so that the financially weaker party does not need to change their lifestyle significantly.

Our team of experienced family lawyers is well-versed in assisting parties in considering spousal maintenance as part of their case. If you have any further questions or need advice on your family law matter, please contact us for a confidential chat. We are here to support you through this