Depending on your needs, spousal maintenance it can be dealt with in the following ways:

  • as an urgent ‘stop-gap’ application under section 77 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) for married couples and section 90SG in the case of de facto spouses;
  • as an interim application under section 74 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) for married couples and section 90SE in the case of de facto spouses; or
  • at a final application (also under section 74/90SE of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth)).

If you are in dire need of financial assistance, an application can be made for urgent spousal maintenance. This application is made in extreme circumstances, for example if there is a threat of eviction or a party going into default of a mortgage. The court deals with the matter in summary way when the court likely does not have sufficient time to consider the matter and does not have all of the relevant information that it would require before making the decision. This is an order that a Registrar of the court can make and is usually only made for a very limited time before the matter can be brought back to be argued fully.

An application for interim spousal maintenance is considered differently to urgent spousal maintenance. At this point, the court should have all (or most of) the evidence it needs to properly assess and consider the need of one party as against the capacity of the other.

If the court ultimately determines that it is appropriate for one party to provide financial assistance to the other, this will usually be an order that is made pending final hearing which will remain in place until the matter is resolved, either by hearing or by consent.

For information on what the Court will consider when making an Order, click here.