The Mother of 4 small kids was really struggling with finances. Her Husband was a professional and earing big money. He paid his child support and thought that was enough.
He was only having the kids every 2nd weekend because of his job.
We were able to apply to the Federal Circuit Court for maintenance for the Wife ( alimony in American tv language).
We set out her costs of living, and her reasonable needs in an urgent Application to the Court and a Financial Statement.
She had access to some information about his income. On the court day, the judge did not hesitate to order that the Husband pay her money on an ongoing basis of $200 weekly.
She had been to other lawyers before but no one had suggested spousal maintenance to her. There was a study done some time ago that suggested judges would like to make more spousal maintenance orders, but the Lawyers do not file material to ask them to do so!
It's not just women who can apply. It is payable by one person to another if there is a need by one party to a Marriage relationship, and the capacity to pay by the other. Defacto couples can also pay and receive spousal maintenance.
Here is what the Federal Circuit Court website says