What is Spousal Maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is a payment made by one spouse/de facto partner to another for the maintenance of that person.

Spousal maintenance is not an automatic right.

Section 72 of the Family Law Act 1975 states that:

A party to a marriage is liable to maintain the other party, to the extent that the first-mentioned party is reasonably able to do so, if, and only if, that other party is unable to support herself or himself adequately whether:

1. By reason of having the care and control of a child of the marriage who has not attained the age of 18 years;

2. By reason of age or physical or mental incapacity for appropriate gainful employment;


3. For any other adequate reason.

A party may apply to the Court for an Order for spousal maintenance 12 months from the date of divorce or 24 months from the date of separation in the case of a de facto relationship.

It is common for parties to remain separated but not apply for a divorce. If that is the case, then there is a danger that one spouse may make a claim for spousal maintenance against the other even though the parties may have separated for a long time.

Spousal maintenance payments are generally separate to the property division between parties although they may sometimes form part of the property division/settlement.

For more information about spousal maintenance, speak with one of our lawyers today.

This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Application for Divorce – We can help you

You and your spouse may be able to apply for a divorce (dissolution of marriage) if you have been separated for 12 months and more, there is no reasonable likelihood of resuming your marriage and if you satisfy the jurisdictional requirements for the Federal Circuit Court of Australia to make a divorce order.

We charge a fixed fee for the Application according to Part 3 of the Family Law Rules 2004 (Family Court Scale of costs)(excluding disbursements) and not on hourly rates! This includes drafting the Application along with any accompanying Affidavits, arranging for a process server to serve your spouse with the Application (if necessary), organising the filing service documents at the Court and attending at Court for the divorce hearing (if necessary). If your marriage certificate is not in English we can organise for a translation too.

We had a client who paid $200 to a company (not a law firm) they found on the internet to assist her with completing the paperwork, only to accidentally pay for the wrong Application form. She was not able to get her money back. She was also not informed that she had to then make her own arrangements to serve the Application on her spouse which was an extra charge on top of the $200. In the end she decided to come to us to assist her with the documents and to serve her spouse who was evading service. We got her documents in order and attended at the divorce hearing with her and her divorce order was granted.

Save yourself the hassle of drafting the Application on your own and arranging for service of the documents all by yourself and let us handle the paperwork. Contact us today.

This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Will you have to sell your property after separation?

If you have separated and do not have the capacity to be able to borrow money to re-finance on your home to be able to pay your spouse/partner his or her entitlements under the Family Law Act 1975, then you may have to sell the home.

We can help you assess the other parties’ entitlements and organise an independent valuation (at the shared cost of the parties) for the purposes of a property settlement.

Before proceeding with sale of property after a separation, talk to us so that we may advise you of what steps to take.

This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.

Fixed fee divorce.

Like many people divorcing, a client of ours attempted to complete his own divorce application.

Unfortunately, he could not serve the other side as he could not find her (she did not want to be found because she did not wish to be divorced). After spending considerable time searching for her, he came to us as he did not know what to do.

Therefore, we assisted our client in making an application for dispensation of service and drafted an affidavit in support of the application on his behalf. We included details of the searches that were completed on his behalf and submitted this information to the court, together with an application for dispensation of service.

The application for dispensation of service was granted due to the detail of the affidavit in support of the application. This means that the wife did not have to be served [ordinarily the application for divorce must be served on the other spouse]. The divorce order was also granted.

After the client’s divorce was granted, he updated his Will to exclude his ex-wife from his estate (which is a blog in itself for another day)!

So, if you are attempting to file for divorce by yourself and are hitting roadblocks, speak to us about how our one low fixed fee, which includes the preparation of the application to the granting of the divorce, may help you.


This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.

What is a Binding Financial Agreement (BFA)?

A Binding Financial Agreement (BFA) is an agreement made between parties in a relationship – including same sex – which provides for the division of matrimonial assets and liabilities in the event of a separation. Types of BFAs include parties who are:

  1. In contemplation of a marriage (s90B);
  2. In contemplation of a de facto relationship (s90UB);
  3. During a marriage (s90C);
  4. During a de facto relationship (s90UC);
  5. After divorce (s90D); and
  6. After a breakdown of a de facto relationship (s90UD).

Besides addressing the division of matrimonial assets and liabilities, a BFA can also address issues of spousal maintenance (financial support from one spouse/de facto partner to another) and superannuation splitting.

BFAs however are not able to address issues of living and spend time arrangements regarding children, nor can they address child support issues. Parties would have to enter into a Parenting Plan, Consent Order and/or a Child Support Agreement for matters involving children and their maintenance. These are also agreements that Hassall’s Litigation Services can assist you with.

A BFA remains binding even after the death of one or both parties unless it has been set aside by a Court or terminated by the parties.

BFAs are made between the parties without the involvement of the Courts. This means that the parties, with the advice of their respective solicitors, are able to agree on a settlement without the approval of the Courts.

A BFA is binding if and only if the following legislative requirements are complied with:

  1. The agreement is signed by all parties; AND
  2. Before signing the agreement, each spouse party was provided with independent legal advice from a legal practitioner about the effect of the agreement on the rights of that party and about the advantages and disadvantages (at the time that the advice was provided) to that party of making the agreement; AND
  3. Either before or after signing the agreement, each spouse party was provided with a signed statement by the legal practitioner stating that the advice was provided to that party (whether or not the statement is annexed to the agreement); AND
  4. A copy of the statement that was provided to a spouse party is given to the other spouse party or to a legal practitioner for the other spouse party; AND
  5. The agreement has not been terminated and has not been set aside by a Court.

A BFA can be terminated by the parties by:

  1. Executing a new BFA which includes a provision terminating the old BFA; OR
  2. Signing a Termination Agreement pursuant to the relevant sections of the Family Law Act 1975.

Would you like to know if a BFA is suitable for you? Contact our office today and speak with Hui Yin Ong to obtain more information and family law advice.


This article provides information that is general in nature and is not a substitute for legal advice.