Spousal maintenance is the term given to payments from one person to the other for their ongoing financial support. Pursuant to the Family Law Act, both spouses have a duty to support and maintain each other, even after separation or divorce. The extent of the support depends on whether one spouse is unable to adequately meet his/her own reasonable needs and whether the other spouse has the capacity to provide support, having consideration to their own income and needs.
Payment of spousal maintenance is not automatic and is often considered as part of the overall settlement of financial matters. It is generally made for a fixed period, such as the time it will take for a child to start school or the other spouse to find suitable employment.
It is possible to make an interim application for spousal maintenance in cases that may involve urgency.
Applications for Spousal Maintenance must be made within 12 months of the divorce becoming final. However, an application made after 12 months can be granted, yet requires special permission from the Court.