Maintenance is financial support. It means money paid by a person for the support of another person, such as a dependent child, spouse, civil partner or a qualified cohabitant.


Maintenance for the support of dependent children is often called child maintenance. It is an agreement or a court order covering how a child's living costs will be paid.


Maintenance is often an issue after a relationship break up. It can be part of a marriage separation or divorce, or the ending of a civil partnership. Other persons affected by the breakdown of a relationship, such as a qualified cohabitant, may be entitled by law to maintenance.

Some legal terms to keep in mind

Here are some legal terms that may crop up as your read this information:

  • A maintenance debtor is the person who makes the maintenance payments.
  • A maintenance creditor is the person who receives the maintenance payments.

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