The Family Law Act gives the Courts power to award spousal maintenance in certain circumstances. This means one spouse will have to make periodic payments to the other, for as long as necessary.
When considering making an order for spousal maintenance, the Court shall consider the following factors (not an exhaustive list):
- Age and state of health of each of the parties.
- Income, property and financial resources of each of the parties and the physical and mental capacity of each of them for appropriate gainful employment.
- Whether either party has the care or control of a child of the marriage who has not attained the age of 18 years.
- Commitments of each of the parties that are necessary to enable the party to support himself or herself and a child or another person that the party has a duty to maintain.
- Responsibilities of either party to support any other person.
- Eligibility of either party for a pension, allowance or benefit and the rate of any such pension, allowance or benefit being paid to either party.
- Where the parties have separated or divorced, a standard of living that in all the circumstances is reasonable.
- Extent to which the payment of maintenance to the party whose maintenance is under consideration would increase the earning capacity of that party by enabling that party to undertake a course of education or training or to establish himself or herself in a business or otherwise to obtain an adequate income.
- Duration of the marriage and the extent to which it has affected the earning capacity of the party whose maintenance is under consideration.
- If either party is cohabiting with another person–the financial circumstances relating to the cohabitation.
- Any child support under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 that a party to the marriage has provided, is to provide, or might be liable to provide in the future, for a child of the marriage.
- Any fact or circumstance which, in the opinion of the court, the justice of the case requires to be taken into account.
- The terms of any financial agreement or superannuation agreement that is binding on the parties to the marriage.