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Your local family law spousal maintenance lawyers

We can offer confidential legal advice around spousal maintenance whether you are making a claim or have been asked to contribute payments.

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We have 40+ years of experience dealing with family law matters.

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What are spousal maintenance payments?

Under the Family Law Act 1975 a person has a responsibility to financially assist their spouse or former de facto partner if that person cannot meet their own reasonable expenses from their personal income or assets. 

When considering a spousal maintenance application, the court will look at the needs of the person seeking maintenance and their former partner’s capacity to pay. In deciding whether a spouse is entitled to maintenance, the court will consider factors like age, health, childcare arrangements, employment capability, and physical or mental incapacity.

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Our spousal maintenance services

Making sure you’re financially supported

If you want to make a spousal maintenance claim or have been asked to pay spousal maintenance, we can provide legal advice, determine if there is a need for spousal maintenance, and support you through the process.

Spousal maintenance claims

Eligible parties can seek financial support from their former spouse or partner after a divorce or separation. Our experienced family lawyers can review your case to determine your eligibility, advise you of your legal rights, and enter negotiations on your behalf. 

Spousal maintenance payments 

If you have been asked to financially support your spouse after a separation or divorce, we can assess your spouse's financial needs, your capacity to pay, and the overall circumstances of the separation. This can determine whether you need to pay spousal support; if so, we can negotiate a payment plan on your behalf or contest an existing agreement.

Make an enquiry

Get started by discussing your circumstances with a family law expert.

When to seek legal advice for spousal maintenance

Spousal maintenance varies from case to case, which is why it’s important to obtain independent legal advice in relation to your rights and obligations. You can make an application for spousal maintenance immediately following separation, before an order for divorce, or up to 12 months after a divorce order has been finalised. 

Spousal maintenance isn’t just restricted to married couples who have separated or divorced; it is also applicable to those in a de facto relationship, as well as same-sex couples (in marriage or de facto). As every case is unique, we recommend reaching out to our family lawyers so we can learn more about your situation and offer personalised advice.

Benefits of consulting with a spousal maintenance lawyer

Given the complexity and uniqueness of every spousal maintenance case, seeking legal representation and advice can be highly beneficial, whether you are the one claiming maintenance or the one being asked to pay. 

  • Family lawyers specialise in spousal maintenance and can provide accurate information on laws and regulations
  • Provide legal advice tailored to your circumstances
  • Guide you through the legal process ensuring the necessary legal procedures are followed
  • Negotiate on your behalf to achieve a fair and reasonable spousal maintenance arrangement
  • Provide representation in court proceedings if necessary
  • Draft and review legal documents, ensuring that any agreements are accurate, comprehensive, and legally sound
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Getting started

Our solution-focused process


Make an enquiry

We’ll contact you to discuss your spousal maintenance case and assign a family law specialist who can meet your specific requirements.


Meet with a family law expert, online or in person

During a 90-minute appointment, one of our highly experienced family lawyers will ask you more about your situation so they can determine the best path forward.


Discuss next steps

Your lawyer will guide you through the spousal maintenance process before providing a tailored quote that you can review before moving forward.

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Why choose Carew Counsel

Spousal maintenance specialists

Our family lawyers are highly trained in spousal maintenance and can help guide you through the process.


Our aim is to help you achieve your goal in relation to spousal maintenance in a straightforward, cost-effective manner.

Understand your options

We replace legal jargon with easy-to-understand options so you can make informed decisions.

Open and transparent

We provide upfront pricing for ongoing services after your consultation so you can review before moving forward.

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Meet your Melbourne spousal maintenance lawyers


Learn more about spousal maintenance with our most commonly asked questions.

What is the spousal maintenance law in Australia?

In Australia, spousal maintenance laws are primarily governed by the Family Law Act 1975. Spousal maintenance refers to financial support provided by one spouse to the other following a divorce or separation. It may be awarded if one party cannot adequately support themselves financially, and the other party has the capacity to contribute. 

Courts consider various factors when determining spousal maintenance, including the financial needs of the party seeking maintenance, the payer's capacity to pay, the standard of living during the relationship, and the age and health of both parties. In the event that a party is in receipt of a pension, the court will effectively treat that party as having no income. 

The duration of spousal maintenance can vary. It may be paid on a periodic basis for a specific period of time, such as until the children are old enough to attend school and the parent who is seeking the maintenance can resume paid employment, or provide the person sufficient time to study and re-train so they can obtain employment. 

Spousal maintenance can be agreed upon by the parties and formalised through consent orders or sought through court proceedings. Consent orders involve an agreement approved by the court, while court orders may be made if an agreement cannot be reached.

Spousal maintenance ceases on the death of the receiving party, remarriage, or upon the death of the person making the maintenance payments, depending on the circumstances. If there is a change in the financial circumstances of either party, then the order may be varied.

What are the different types of spousal maintenance?

Depending on the specific situation of the parties involved, spousal maintenance can take various forms, including:

  • Interim maintenance - temporary financial support provided during legal proceedings, such as divorce or separation, to assist the economically disadvantaged spouse until a final decision is made
  • Short-term maintenance - given for a limited duration following the separation, often to support the receiving spouse during a transitional period 
  • Long-term maintenance - ongoing financial support for a more extended period
  • Lump sum payment - provides immediate financial support and eliminates the need for ongoing periodic payments
How much is spousal maintenance in Australia?

There is no fixed amount for spousal maintenance in Australia as it is dependent on individual circumstances. The amount is determined by assessing factors such as the financial needs of the spouse or de facto partner seeking maintenance, the paying party’s capacity to contribute, the standard of living during the relationship, contributions made by both parties, age, health, caring responsibilities, and other relevant factors. 

Spousal maintenance is case-specific, and negotiations or court orders aim to provide financial support that is fair and reasonable given the unique circumstances of each case.

Do I have to pay spousal maintenance if I was in a de facto relationship?

In Australia, spousal maintenance laws apply to de facto couples as well as married couples. If you were in a de facto relationship and have separated, the court may consider spousal maintenance if one partner is unable to adequately support themselves, and the other has the capacity to contribute.

Applications for spousal maintenance in de facto relationships must generally be made within two years of the breakdown of the relationship. However, the court has discretion to allow applications outside this time limit in certain circumstances.

Knowledge Centre

Our Melbourne family law office

03 9670 5711
Level 10, 313 La Trobe Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Mon – Fri, 9 am – 5:30 pm
Wilson Parking on La Trobe St
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