How long will a Spousal Maintenance Order last?

There are no limits to how long a spousal maintenance order can last. The Court has wide powers when making orders for spousal maintenance but will often specify a finite period of time during which the Order has effect.


When does a Maintenance Order cease?

The maintenance order will cease to have effect upon:

  • the death of the party receiving maintenance;
  • the death of the party paying maintenance (except in limited circumstances); or
  • re-marriage of the party receiving maintenance (except in limited circumstances).

If you are the party receiving spousal maintenance and you re-marry, it is your obligation to tell your former partner. If you enter into a de facto relationship, it does not necessarily mean the Order ceases to have effect. However, the court can take the financial circumstances of your new cohabiting relationship into consideration if it is required to consider whether the spousal maintenance is proper in the circumstances.

The Court has power to discharge, suspend and vary a spousal maintenance order if:

  • the circumstances of either party to the order have changed in such a way as to justify the court doing so;
  • the cost of living has varied to such an extent to justify the court doing so;
  • the order was made by consent and the amount is not proper or adequate; or
  • material facts were withheld or false evidence was given to the court when the order was made.

If you are concerned about how long a spousal maintenance order against you will last or your circumstances have changed and you want to know whether the Order could be reviewed, please contact us.

It is possible for parties to a relationship to make an agreement limiting their right to seek spousal maintenance from the other in the event of separation. The agreement must be formalised in the appropriate way to have effect. If you are considering entering a relationship or currently in a relationship and would like further information about Financial Agreements, please read further information on our website and contact us.



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