Spousal maintenance is an ongoing periodic or lump sum payment from one spouse to the other to assist in meeting continuing living expenses. It is important to remember that “spouse” includes partners in de facto and same-sex relationships who may also have the same rights and obligations for maintenance as married couples.
Spousal maintenance payments are separate to any child support which may be payable. Sometimes spousal maintenance takes the form of meeting on-going financial obligations of one party pending final settlement, for example paying the mortgage payments even when you are no longer living in the house. At other times, it might be a regular cash deposit to the other party.
Some people think that once they separate, they are no longer financially liable for their partner. Others assume that spousal maintenance is an automatic entitlement. You may be entitled to financial support from your partner or you may be required to continue to support your partner post separation. Either way, it will be necessary to determine whether there is a need for spousal maintenance and a capacity to pay it, including a detailed examination of income and expenses of both partners to ascertain whether or not there are grounds for a maintenance claim.