Spousal maintenance is the financial support given to a former partner if they are unable to adequately support themselves (and often their children).
In Perth it’s the responsibility of the partner who earns more money to financially assist their partner – if their former partner can’t provide for themselves from their personal income or assets.
For example, if there is a gap between your income and expenses that puts you in the red each month, you may be eligible to have your ex make some payments towards your living expenses.
The provision of spousal maintenance can continue after separation, and the extent of the support will depend on what the paying party can afford, as well as your need.
Who’s eligible for spousal maintenance in Perth & Western Australia?
Spousal maintenance in Perth and the rest of Western Australia is available to couples whether they’ve been married or not.
- Married couples can apply for spousal maintenance under the Family Law Act 1975.
- De facto couples can apply for it under the Family Court Act 1997.
To be eligible for spousal maintenance in Perth and Western Australia these courts will take two factors into consideration:
- Does the paying party have the financial means to pay maintenance?
- Is the applicant unable to support themselves adequately without the maintenance?
A wide range of facts about each party is taken into account by the court, including age, health, a party’s ability to work, if the relationship has affected your ability to earn an income, existing assets, if there are children under the age of 18 and what constitutes a suitable standard of living.
Contrary to how things can be portrayed in the media, the intention of spousal maintenance isn’t to financially cripple the party paying it, while the other partner enjoys a lavish lifestyle.
Is there a time limit on applying for spousal maintenance?
There sure is. The courts in Western Australia dictate that an application for spousal maintenance must be submitted within 12 months of the divorce becoming final (if you’re married), or within two years of a relationship ending (if you’ve been in a de facto partnership).
Sounds like I’m eligible. So how do I apply for spousal maintenance?
You can apply for spousal maintenance in Perth through the Family Court of Western Australia.
Your application needs to include affidavit (a written statement prepared by a party of witness) and financial records which prove that you’re unable to support yourself and/or your family without maintenance – and that the other party has the financial capacity to pay the requested maintenance amount.
Importantly, the applicant needs to be able to justify the amount of requested maintenance.