What is Spouse Maintenance?
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.
Who is entitled to Spouse Maintenance & who must pay?
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.