What is spousal maintenance?

Spousal maintenance is where one party to a marriage pays maintenance (financial support) to the other. Please note that spousal maintenance is only available to parties to a marriage/civil partnership, the court has no power to order former cohabitees to pay spousal maintenance to the other. Spousal maintenance can be paid for a fixed period of time to enable one parent to adjust, to get back into the job market etc., or can be paid long term, possibly on a joint lives basis.