When it comes to spousal maintenance or alimony, there is typically a lot of uncertainty in our minds. Here, let us take a look at some basic but really vital things about spousal maintenance or alimony, to clear the confusion.

  1. What does spousal maintenance mean?

Spousal maintenance, by definition, is the financial support that is to be given to your ex-partner or ex-spouse if they are not in a position to support themselves financially. As per the 1975 Family Law Act and the Family Court Act 1997, a person who is an ex-partner or ex-spouse stands the right to receive financial support if they cannot meet their financial expenses independently. According to the spousal maintenance Australia clauses, financial support can be in any of the below-mentioned forms –

  • Payment of ongoing expenses
  • Period payments
  • A lump-sum payment
  • Payment of particular one-off expenses
  • Permission to use assets such as vehicles or stay in the house to the time of property settlement.
  1. How is spousal maintenance calculated?

There are numerous factors the court has to address before proving someone the spousal maintenance. The court makes sure that the payments are genuine and that none fall into financial hardship. According to the Family Law Act 1975, here are some of the factors considered before awarding spousal maintenance.

  • Age of both spouse
  • Physical health and mental fitness of each spouse
  • Standard of living
  • Whether the ex-spouse wants to continue being the guardian of the child
  • Duration of the relationship
  • Earning capacity and financial resources of the other spouse and more.
  1. Are people in unmarried relationships eligible to apply for spousal maintenance?

This is a frequently asked question, and the answer is “YES.” People who are involved in an unmarried relationship are eligible to apply for spousal maintenance under certain circumstances. Another question asked by the majority is whether it is mandatory to have a child above 18 years to receive spousal maintenance. No, you are eligible to apply for spousal maintenance even if your child is younger than 18 years of age.

  1. Who cannot apply for spousal maintenance?

Not everyone breaking a relationship is eligible to apply for spousal maintenance. Let us understand which category people do not qualify for spousal maintenance.

  • If the ex-spouse or ex-partner is married to another person, they cannot apply for spousal maintenance.
  • Suppose you have already been involved in an unmarried relationship, and the financial backroad of the new partner does not agree with the court. In that case, you will not achieve success in gaining spousal maintenance.
  1. Can someone lose spousal maintenance?

There are different circumstances where someone could lose their ground to receiving spousal maintenance:

  • Spousal maintenance can cease if you enter a de facto relationship
  • Spousal maintenance is no longer needed for someone who improves their financial situation by getting a new job or receiving better payments.


When a relationship breaks, apart from weathering the extreme emotional turmoil, various practical and legal aspects need to be sorted too. And alimony or spousal maintenance is among the top priorities that ensure long-term sustenance once a couple separates.