Maintenance is the money that's paid to a former partner following separation or divorce; it can be applied for if you were married or in a de facto relationship. You can apply as part of your property settlement proceedings or as a separate application.
Maintenance entitlement depends on two key questions:
- Are you unable to meet your day-to-day living expenses?
- Can your former partner afford to meet the shortfall?
How long you should receive maintenance for is worked out on the basis of these two questions, but also on other factors including your age, health, capacity to work and whether you’re looking after children.
If you urgently need financial support you can make an application for urgent spousal maintenance. A court will hear this type of application at short notice, and it may be granted if you can show that you have an immediate need. It’s a temporary order and will end once the court has properly considered your maintenance entitlement while your property settlement case is ongoing.
Sometimes, one person will be unable to meet his or her day-to-day living expenses while their property settlement case is proceeding. In this situation, you can apply to the court for interim maintenance.