Legal Definition and Related Resources of Maintenance

Meaning of Maintenance

Has a variety of meanings, depending upon the context. In relation to dependents, the term means primarily food, clothing and shelter; also includes such items as reasonable and necessary transportation expenses, medical and drug expenses, utilities and household expenses. See Bernhardt v Bernhardt, (La.) 283 So.2d 226. At common law the term also denotes an officious intermeddling with a suit, which in no way belongs to the intermeddlor by maintaining or assisting either party with money or otherwise to prosecute or defend a suit. To be distinguished from champerty which is the maintenance aggravated by an agreement to have a part of a thing in dispute .

Maintenance Alternative Definition

Aid, support, assistance; the support which one person, who is bound by law to do so, gives to another for his living; for example, a father is bound to find maintenance for his children; and a child is required by law to maintain his father or mother, when they cannot support themselves, and he has ability to maintain them. 1 Bouv. Inst, notes 284-286. -In Criminal Law, A malicious, or, at least, officious, interference in a suit in which the offender has no interest, to assist one of the parties to it against the other, with money or advice to prosecute or defend the action without any authority of law. 1 Russ. Crimes, 176. See 3 Cow. (N. Y.) 623. The intermeddling of a stranger in a suit for the purpose of stirring up strife and continuing the litigation. 2 Pars. Cont. 266. See 4 Term. R. 340; 6 Bing. 299; 4 Q. B. 883. There must be assistance actually rendered (1 Hempst. [Ark.] 300), though the suit need not be pending (13 Ired. [N. C] 201), and under the modern doctrine, the assistance must be either in giving or hiring legal advice, or the bearing part of the expenses. But there are many acts in the nature of maintenance which become justifiable from the circumstances under which they are done. They may be justified, first, because the party has an interest in the thing in variance, as when he has a bare contingency in the lands in question, which possibly may never come in esse (Bac. Abr. Maintenance. And see 11 Mees. & W. 675; 9 Mete. [Mass.] 489; 13 Mete. [Mass.] 262; 1 Me. 292; 6 Me. 361; 11 Me. Ill); second, because the party is of kindred or afiinitjr, as father, son, or heir apparent, or husband or wife (3 Cow. [N. Y.] 623) ; third, because the relation of landlord and tenant or master and servant subsists between the party to the suit and the person who assists him; fourth, because the money is given out of charity (1 Bailey [S. C] 401) ; fifth, because the person assisting the party to the suit is an attorney or counsellor; the assistance to be rendered must, however, be strictly professional, for a lawyer is not more justified in giving his client money than another man (1 Russ. Crimes, 179; Bac. Abr. Maintenance; Broke, Abr. Maintenance). See Champerty.

Legal Definition of Maintenance

Money one spouse pays on a regular basis to the other for ongoing financial support (either just for the spouse or for the benefit of the children of the family).

Synonyms of Maintenance

(Support of spouse), noun

  • aid
  • alimony
  • allowance
  • assistance
  • financial backing
  • financing
  • legal assistance
  • legal support
  • means of subsistence
  • monetary help
  • necessaries
  • necessities of life
  • preservation
  • provisions
  • subsidy
  • subsistencesustenance
  • upkeep
  • victus
  • Associated Concepts: separate maintenance
  • support and maintenance

(Upkeep), noun

  • care
  • carrying charge
  • conservatio
  • conservation
  • cost
  • disbursement
  • drain on resources
  • expenditure
  • expense
  • outlay
  • overhead
  • repair
  • running expenses
  • salus
  • service
  • Associated Concepts: ordinary maintenance and repair
  • reasonable maintenance

Related Entries of Maintenance in the Encyclopedia of Law Project

Browse or run a search for Maintenance in the American Encyclopedia of Law, the Asian Encyclopedia of Law, the European Encyclopedia of Law, the UK Encyclopedia of Law or the Latin American and Spanish Encyclopedia of Law.

Maintenance in Historical Law

You might be interested in the historical meaning of this term. Browse or search for Maintenance in Historical Law in the Encyclopedia of Law.

Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms

Search for legal acronyms and/or abbreviations containing Maintenance in the Legal Abbreviations and Acronyms Dictionary.

Related Legal Terms

You might be also interested in these legal terms:

Mentioned in these terms

Accrued Depreciation, Champerty, Civil Rights, Natural Rights, Parish, Permanent Alimony, , Rectory, School District, Special Taxes, Spendthrift Trust, Temporary Alimony.


You might be interested in these references tools:

Resource Description
Maintenance in the Dictionary Maintenance in our legal dictionaries
Browse the Legal Thesaurus Find synonyms and related words of Maintenance
Legal Maxims Maxims are established principles that jurists use as interpretive tools, invoked more frequently in international law
Legal Answers (Q&A) A community-driven knowledge creation process, of enduring value to a broad audience
Related topics Maintenance in the World Encyclopedia of Law


This definition of Maintenance is based on the The Cyclopedic Law Dictionary . This entry needs to be proofread.

Vocabularies (Semantic Web Information)

Resource Description
Topic Map A group of names, occurrences and associations
Topic Tree A topic display format, showing the hierarchy
Sitemap Index Sitemap Index, including Taxonomies The URI of Maintenance (more about URIs)

Maintenance in Law Enforcement

Main Entry: Law Enforcement in the Legal Dictionary. This section provides, in the context of Law Enforcement, a partial definition of maintenance.


Legal English Vocabulary: Manufacturing and Maintenance of Transport Equipment in Spanish

Online translation of the English legal term manufacturing and maintenance of transport equipment into Spanish: Fabricación y mantenimiento de material de transporte (English to Spanish translation) . More about legal dictionary from english to spanish online.

Related to the Legal Thesaurus


See Also

  • Law Enforcement Officer
  • Police
  • Law Enforcement Agency

Further Reading

Definition of Maintenance

The provision of financial support for a minor or adult.

Concept of Maintenance in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Maintenance: Keeping a property in condition to efficiently serve its intended purpose.

Concept of Maintenance in the context of Real Property

A short definition of Maintenance: Keeping a property in condition to efficiently serve its intended purpose.

What is the meaning of Total Productive Maintenance (tpm)?

A definition of Total Productive Maintenance (tpm) is provided here: Preventive maintenance with total participation of the personnel operating the equipment.




Hierarchical Display of Maintenance

European Union > European construction > EU relations > Production policy > Organisation of production

Meaning of Maintenance

Overview and more information about Maintenance

For a more comprehensive understanding of Maintenance, see in the general part of the online platform.[rtbs name=”xxx-xxx”]


Translation of Maintenance

Thesaurus of Maintenance

European Union > European construction > EU relations > Production policy > Organisation of production > Maintenance

See also


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