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A strict time limit does apply to making an application to the Court for Spousal Maintenance if you are applying for spousal maintenance for the first time.
Once an order has previously been made for the payment of Spousal Maintenance, time limits do not apply.
An application to vary an existing spousal maintenance order is not subject to the following time limits.
You can make an application to the Court for Spousal Maintenance as soon as you need after you have separated but there is a maximum time limit.
You may be separated and living under the same roof and still able to apply for Spousal Maintenance. You do not need to be living separately to apply for Spousal Maintenance, nor do you need to be divorced.
If an Order for spousal maintenance has not been made before, there must be an Application made to the Court for spousal maintenance within:-
If you did not make your application to the Court for Spousal Maintenance within the time limit applicable to you, you need the leave of the Court to make your application.
Obtaining leave of the Court means you need special permission of the Court to bring your application for Spousal Maintenance even though the time limit has expired. Leave of the Court is not always or automatically granted.
An application to the court outside the time limit will only be granted in limited circumstances.
Make sure you read our other fact sheets which will give you the information you need about how Spousal Maintenance is calculated, who is eligible for Spousal Maintenance, when Spousal Maintenance is payable, the list of matters considered by courts when deciding if spousal maintenance is payable, as well as answers to frequently asked questions about Spousal Maintenance.
Michelle Beatty, Senior Lawyer
Other Questions answered in the Spousal Maintenance Section
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