Spousal Maintenance: 5 Myths and Facts

Spousal maintenance is an unfortunate reality for many Australians. Melbourne family lawyers have found that many women are unaware they can receive this payment. And many more do not know how it works!

For a woman to obtain spousal maintenance, she must prove that her husband has left her financially disadvantaged and unable to support herself without his income. She must also show that he has behaved in an โ€œunreasonableโ€ manner during the marriage by being abusive or neglectful.

Here are five myths and facts you must know about spousal maintenance.

Five Myths About Spousal Maintenance

  1. Spousal maintenance is a punishment.

The purpose of spousal maintenance is to help the spouse who is financially dependent on his or her partner and unable to support him/herself without assistance from their partner.

  1. A man cannot get spousal maintenance.

A man can receive temporary financial support from his spouse if he cannot work due to illness, injury, or caring for the children. Spousal maintenance can be awarded to both men and women, but certain criteria must be met. Melbourne family lawyers are particularly skilled at securing this and helping you know if you qualify.

  1. Spousal maintenance will go on forever.

Spousal maintenance is usually for a limited time and can be changed or stopped if circumstances change.

  1. Loss of a Job can stop one from paying.

This is untrue! Since the payment of spousal maintenance is usually on order from a court of capable jurisdiction, you are still legally bound to pay spousal maintenance even when you lose your job.

  1. The payments are fixed for a lifetime.

In most cases, the payments are variable. The amount paid per month is usually agreed upon at the first ruling. However, the amount could be varied depending on prevailing circumstances which have been brought to the notice of the Judge.

Five Facts About Spousal Maintenance

  1. Only the spouse with more money pays spousal maintenance.

Spousal maintenance is not a right. It’s a remedy, and only the spouse with less income usually receives spousal maintenance.

  1. Spousal maintenance could vary from couple to couple.

The amount and duration of spousal maintenance are based on several factors:

  • The length of the marriage.
  • The age and health of both spouses.
  • Whether one spouse was financially dependent on the other (e.g., if they were paying half their bills while they lived together).
  1. Couples can waive spousal maintenance.

A couple can agree to waive spousal maintenance in their pre-marital agreement but must also waive other rights, such as alimony, that may exist under state laws.

  1. The court considers various factors.

The court will look at several factors to determine whether alimony is appropriate. These include:

  • The standard of living during the marriage
  • The length of the marriage
  • The age, health, and financial circumstances of each spouse
  • The ability of each spouse to work
  1. Spousal maintenance is different from child support and alimony.

While spousal maintenance is a court-ordered payment, alimony is a contractual agreement between two parties, and child support is a payment to help maintain a childโ€™s standard of living.


While there are several myths surrounding the subject of spousal maintenance, itโ€™s best to know what is true and what remains a myth. This way, you can make good use of the knowledge when needed.

Krystal | Sunny Sweet Days
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