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Maintenance is the combination of all technical and associated administrative actions intended to retain an item in, or restore it to, a state in which it can perform its required function. Many companies seek to gain competitive advantage with respect to cost, quality, service, and on-time deliveries. The effect of maintenance on these variables has prompted increased attention to the maintenance area as an integral part of productivity improvement. Maintenance is rapidly evolving into a major contributor to the performance and profitability of manufacturing systems. In fact, some see maintenance as the last frontier for manufacturing.

In their article Make Maintenance Meaningful, P.K. Kauppi and Paavo Ylinen describe the bulk of maintenance procedures as being:

  • Preventive maintenancethe prevention of equipment breakdowns before they happen. This includes inspections, adjustments, regular service, and planned shutdowns.
  • Repair workrepairing equipment and troubleshooting malfunctions in an effort to return the equipment to its previous condition. These repairs may be reactive or preventive.
  • Improvement worksearching for better materials and improved designs to facilitate equipment reliability. Repair work is often a part of improvement work.

As shown in Figure 1, six maintenance programs are identified within the maintenance hierarchy, each representing an increased level of sophistication.


Reactive maintenance (also known as corrective maintenance) involves all unscheduled actions performed as a result of system or product failure. Basically, it is an attempt to restore the system/product to a specified condition. The spectrum of activities within this level is (1) failure identification, (2) localization and isolation, (3) disassembly, (4) item removal and replacement or repair in place, (5) reassembly, and (6) checkout and condition verification.

This approach is mainly a response to machine breakdowns. Unfortunately, many manufacturers are still in a reactive mode of operation, since their main objective is to ship the product. If their manufacturing equipment breaks down, they fix it as quickly as possible and then run it until it breaks down againan extremely unreliable process and not the best way to maximize the useful life span of assets. It leaves machine tools in a state of poor repair and can cause the production of out-of-tolerance parts and scrap. Because of its unpredictable nature it can easily cause disruptions to the production process.


Scheduled maintenance utilizes a previously developed maintenance schedule for each machine tool. While this is a broadly practiced technique in many manufacturing organizations, it does possess some distinct disadvantages. The scheduled maintenance may take place too soon, while the machine still operates well (1520 percent of all components fail after a predictable time), or it may come too late if the machine fails before the scheduled maintenance time. In some cases, the machine may still be running but producing unacceptable parts. Scheduled maintenance can be considered a part of preventive maintenance (discussed later) known as fixed-time maintenance (FTM).


Predictive maintenance involves performing maintenance on a machine in advance of the time a failure would occur if the maintenance were not performed. This means that one must calculate when a machine is predicted to fail. In order to do this, the firm must collect data on variables that can be used to indicate an impending failure (vibration, temperature, sound, color, etc.). This data is analyzed to approximate when a failure will occur and maintenance is then scheduled to take place prior to this time. By seeking the correct level of maintenance required, unplanned down-time is minimized.


Preventive maintenance encompasses activities, including adjustments, replacement, and basic cleanliness, that forestall machine breakdowns. Preventive activities are primarily condition based. The condition of a component, measured when the equipment is operating, governs planned/scheduled maintenance.

Typical preventive maintenance activities include periodic inspections, condition monitoring, critical item replacements, and calibrations. In order to accomplish this, blocks of time are incorporated into the operations schedule. The purpose of preventive maintenance is to ensure that production quality is maintained and that delivery schedules are met. In addition, a machine that is well cared for will last longer and cause fewer problems.

Current trends in management philosophy such as just-in-time (JIT) and total quality management (TQM) incorporate preventive maintenance as key factors in their success. JIT requires high machine availability, which in turn requires preventive maintenance. Also, TQM requires equipment that is well maintained in order to meet required process capability.

Preventive maintenance is also seen as a measure of management excellence. It requires a long-term commitment, constant monitoring of new technology, a constant assessment of the financial and organizational tradeoffs in contracting out versus in-house maintenance, and an awareness of the impact of the regulatory and legal environment.

The resulting benefits of preventive maintenance are many. Some of them are listed below:

  • Safety. Machinery that is not well maintained can become a safety hazard. Preventive maintenance increases the margin of safety by keeping equipment in top running condition.
  • Lower cost. A modern and cost-effective approach to preventive maintenance shows that there is no maintenance cost optimum. However, maintenance costs will decrease as the costs for production losses decreases. No preventive maintenance action is performed unless it is less costly than the resulting failure.
  • Reduction in failures and breakdowns. Preventive maintenance aims to reduce or eliminate unplanned downtime, thereby increasing machine efficiency. Downtime is also reduced when the preventive maintenance process gives maintenance personnel sufficient warning so repairs can be scheduled during normal outages.
  • Extension of equipment life. Equipment that is cared for will last longer than equipment that is abused and neglected.
  • Improved trade-in/resale value of equipment. If the equipment is to be sold or traded in, a preventive maintenance program will help keep the machine in the best possible condition, thereby maximizing its used value.
  • Increased equipment reliability. By performing preventive maintenance on equipment, a firm begins to build reliability into the equipment by removing routine and avoidable breakdowns.
  • Increased plant productivity. Productivity is enhanced by the decrease in unexpected machine breakdown. Also, forecast shutdown time can allow the firm to utilize alternate routings and scheduling alternatives that will minimize the negative effect of downtime.
  • Fewer surprises. Preventive maintenance enables users to avoid the unexpected. Preventive maintenance does not guarantee elimination of all unexpected downtime, but empirically it has proven to eliminate most downtime caused by mechanical failure.
  • Reduced cycle time. If process equipment is incapable of running the product, then the time it takes to move the product through the factory will suffer. Taninecz found, from an Industry Week survey, that there is a strong correlation between preventive maintenance and cycle-time reductions as well as near-perfect on-time delivery rates. Also, approximately 35 percent of the surveyed plants who widely adopted preventive maintenance achieved on-time delivery rates of 98 percent, compared to only 19.5 percent for non-adopters.
  • Increased service level for the customer and reduction in the number of defective parts. These have a positive direct effect on stockouts, backlog, and delivery time to the customer.
  • Reduced overall maintenance. By not allowing machinery to fall into a state of disrepair, overall maintenance requirements are greatly decreased.


Total productive maintenance (TPM) is preventive maintenance plus continuing efforts to adapt, modify, and refine equipment to increase flexibility, reduce material handling, and promote continuous flows. It is operator-oriented maintenance with the involvement of all qualified employees in all maintenance activities.

TPM has been described as preventive maintenance with these three factors added: (1) involving machine operators in preliminary maintenance activities by encouraging them to keep machines clean and well lubricated; (2) encouraging operators to report indications of incipient distress to the maintenance department; and (3) establishing a maintenance education and training program.

Developed in Japan, TPM places a high value on teamwork, consensus building, and continuous improvement. It is a partnership approach among organizational functions, especially production and maintenance. TPM means total employee involvement, total equipment effectiveness, and a total maintenance delivery system. In order to achieve this, machine operators must share the preventive maintenance efforts, assist mechanics with repairs when equipment is down, and work on equipment and process improvements within team activities.

Tennessee Eastman found that another employee, such as an equipment operator, with minimal training, could do 40 percent of the traditional maintenance mechanic's work. Another 40 percent could be performed with additional training, but still below the certified level. Only 20 percent of the maintenance tasks actually required a certified mechanic's skills. They also reported that as much as 75 percent of maintenance problems can be prevented by operators at an early stage. This frees maintenance personnel to be responsible for the tasks that require their critical skills, such as breakdown analysis, overhaul, corrective maintenance, and root cause analysis. This places maintenance personnel in a consultant role with the operators allowing them to:

  • Help the operator diagnose problems and restore equipment to like-new condition.
  • Use appropriate technologies and standards to verify that the equipment is in like-new condition after repair, overhaul, or replacement.
  • Use this knowledge to assess the root cause of the problem so that changes may be made to the design, operation, or maintenance practices in the future.
  • Work with purchasing, engineering, operations, and maintenance to modify procurement standards to assure maximum reliability in future equipment.

In order for this to work, the firm must have an organizational culture which supports a high level of employee involvement. Businesses must be willing to provide the necessary training in order to allow production personnel to perform the required tasks.

TPM's focus is on elimination of the major losses or inefficiencies incurred in production activities. These

losses include those due to obstruction of equipment efficiency, manpower efficiency, and material and energy efficiency. Based on their link to corporate goals, targets for eliminating or reducing these losses are developed.

Just as in activity-based cost accounting where cost drivers are identified, the objective of TPM is to identify variables that can demonstrate improved performance. All major equipment losses are functionally related to availability, performance, efficiency, and/or quality rate so the improvement resulting from the maintenance system can be measured by its impact on overall equipment effectiveness (see below).

Beneficial results of TPM include:

  • It maximizes overall equipment effectiveness and overall efficiency.
  • It takes the guesswork out of determining which machine needs major repairs or rebuilding.
  • It provides objectivity by converting the operator's intuition into quantifiable values.
  • It pinpoints exact maintenance requirements. The operator carries out only the needed corrective actions, so no unnecessary work, beyond routine maintenance, is done.
  • It rapidly verifies the effectiveness of major corrective work.
  • It helps operators improve their job skills.
  • It motivates operators by involving them in maintenance of their own machines and in team-based concepts.
  • It gives operators ownership of making the project a success by involving them in the process.
  • It enables the development of a preventive maintenance program for the lifecycle of the equipment.
  • It gets everyone involved in equipment design and selection, resulting in a better understanding of why certain decisions and trade-offs are necessary.
  • It results in equipment and maintenance management (inherent in a reliability strategy).
  • It maximizes capacity.
  • It minimizes costs.
  • It improves product quality.
  • It improves safety.
  • It continually improves the manufacturing process.

As a final note on TPM, another school of thought holds that TPM can be adopted by continuous diagnostic monitoring of a machine's conditions and establishing a trend line for it. Trend lines approaching or veering into the domain that identifies poor operating conditions will trigger maintenance action.


It has been assumed that preventive maintenance programs help to ensure reliability and safety of equipment and machinery. However, tests performed by airlines in the mid-1960s showed that scheduled overhaul of complex equipment had little or no positive effect on the reliability of the equipment in service. These tests revealed the need for a new concept of preventive maintenance, which later became known as reliability-centered maintenance (RCM).

The concept of RCM is rooted in a 1968 working paper prepared by the Boeing 747 Maintenance Steering Group. A refined version appeared in 1970. Continued studies at the Department of Defense led to the 1986 publication of the Reliability Centered Maintenance Requirements for Naval Aircraft, Weapons Systems and Support Equipment, a set of maintenance standards and procedures that certain military maintenance personnel were expected to follow. The RCM methodology was further developed and found application not only in the military and aviation, but also in the energy, manufacturing, foundry, and transport industries.

According to Bulmer, the RCM process can be considered as three separate but associated analyses: failure mode and effects analysis, consequence analysis, and task analysis. These analyses consider the specific characteristics and consequences of a failure and attempt to arrive at the optimal solution based on this information.


Total productive maintenance provides a systematic procedure for linking corporate goals to maintenance goals. This procedure calls for the consideration of external and internal corporate environments, and then the development of a basic maintenance policy congruent with the environments. Next key points for maintenance improvement are identified, which result in the definition of target values for maintenance performance. These values, referred to as overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), are a function of equipment availability, quality rate, and equipment performance efficiency, and provide a starting point for developing quantitative variables for relating maintenance measurement and control to corporate strategy.

Essentially, OEE offers a measurement tool that helps identify the real areas of opportunity within an operation. These areas have been termed the six big losses. OEE

allows the firm to break these losses into smaller components to better evaluate the impact the maintenance program is making on the operation. The six losses are:

  1. Breakdowns from equipment failure (unplanned downtime)
  2. Setup and adjustments from product changes and minor adjustments necessary to get the equipment operating properly after the line change
  3. Idling and minor stoppages due to abnormal operation of the equipment causing momentary lapses in production, but not long enough to track as downtime
  4. Reduced speeds, the discrepancy between design and actual speed the equipment operates
  5. Process defects due to scrapped production and defects needing rework
  6. Reduced yield and lost materials during the manufacturing process, from start-up to end of production run

If a company has an OEE of 85 percent or more, then it is considered to be a world-class company.


Two major trends in the development of maintenance management research have been identified: (1) emerging developments and advances in maintenance technology, information and decision technology, and maintenance methods; and (2) the linking of maintenance to quality improvement strategies and the use of maintenance as a competitive strategy.

The first major trend has to do with the impact of artificial intelligence techniques, such as expert systems and neural networks, on the formation of maintenance knowledge in industrial organizations. There is a diverse application of expert systems within the maintenance area. A number of these systems and their applications are listed below:

  • CATSan expert maintenance system for detecting sudden failures in diesel-electric locomotive systems.
  • INNATEan expert system used for electronic circuit diagnosis.
  • FSMan expert system used by Boeing for continuous condition monitoring of aircraft alarms.
  • RLAan expert system developed by Lockheed for repair-level analysis for major parts in an aerospace system.
  • GEMS-TTSan expert system used by AT&T maintenance specialists to isolate faults in communication links.
  • TOPASan expert system that diagnoses transmission and signaling problems in real time that may arise on switched circuits.
  • CHARLEYan expert system used by General Motors to diagnose problems with broken machine tools and to instruct less experienced individuals by providing explanations.
  • XCONan expert system developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (now part of Compaq) for product configuration.

The second major trend is typified by the emergence of total productive maintenance, which must be incorporated into the firm's strategy. In the quest for world-class manufacturing standards, many industries are appreciating the need for efficient maintenance systems that have been effectively integrated with corporate strategy. It is vital that maintenance management becomes integrated with corporate strategy to ensure equipment availability, quality products, on-time deliveries, and competitive pricing. Managerial attitudes have changed toward maintenance because of the emergence of new management philosophies. In addition, social trends such as lack of capital, fluctuations in currencies, competition, quality, and environmental consciousness have also encouraged a new focus on maintenance.

Maintenance continues to be a major area of concern for manufacturers and other forms of business. A study of some seventy manufacturing plants found that over 50 percent of the maintenance work performed by these firms was reactive (run to failure, emergency breakdown). The balance of maintenance work was preventive or period based (25%), predictive or condition based (15%), and proactive or root-caused based (10%). A strong correlation has been found to exist between manufacturing cost reduction and preventive/predictive maintenance. Over a five-year period a study group of companies found that productivity improvements correlated strongly with a number of variables, one of which was preventive/predictive maintenance.

Maintenance Repairs and Inventory Management. Maintenance repair and operations (MRO) inventory handling is one of the most important maintenance processes in business organizations because it is a liability that must be accounted for in management reports of the organization. Since MRO inventory management is an expense (rather than an investment) to business organizations, managers do not give much attention towards supervision of the movements of products that are consumed internally within the organization. However, failure to track the in-house inventory activities leads to mismatch between stocking estimates and the actual types and quantities of stock items required to sustain the short-term and long-term operations of a business organization.

There are various strategies that can be applied to ensure efficiency in the management of MRO inventory. The most commonly used strategy involves assigning stocked products in the MRO inventory into different functional categories. For example, the management can split the MRO inventory into routine maintenance products, non-routine maintenance products which are used on regular predetermined schedules, and unpredictable products of emergency nature. Proper MRO inventory management enables business organizations to control repair and maintenance costs by stocking and tracking only those items that are required by the company.

The continued advancement of information technology has led to increased use of automated systems in (MRO) inventory handling practices in business organizations. Both large scale and small scale manufacturers are gradually optimizing the use of Computer Maintenance Management System (CMMS), a software program that facilitates the automation of logistical procedures in the management of operations and maintenance activities in manufacturing firms. CMMS adoption is a transformational function that involves software installation, system configuration, training of end users, and system implementation.

The implementation phase of CMMS in the organization requires the management to develop appropriate oversight measures to ensure that all personnel who are affected by the system have deep understanding of the procedures that concern changes introduced in the routine work flows, data-capturing processes, report processing requirements, and performance logistics by the aided planning of maintenance. Successful incorporation of CMMS into the MRO inventory practices of a firm leads to efficiency in the performance of a firm's maintenance procedures including preventive maintenance, repair work, and improvement work, as well as routine activities such as inventory control and asset management.

Mike Laskiewicz recommends that organizations recognize maintenance as a key department that needs to be well managed. In addition, the maintenance department should be led by a strong-minded individual who is a good motivator, technically competent, experienced and familiar with advanced industry practices. Finally Laskiewicz notes that maintenance planning must be a top priority.

SEE ALSO Continuous Improvement; Lean Manufacturing and Just-in-Time Production; Operations Strategy; Organizational Culture


Chan, F.T.S., H.C.W. Lau, R.W.L.Ip, H.K. Chan, and S. Kong. Implementation of Total Productive Maintenance: A Case Study. International Journal of Production Economics 95 (2005): 71.

Computer Maintenance Management System Management System. O&M Best Practices. Available from:

Cox, James F., John H. Blackstone, Jr., and Michael S. Spencer, eds. APICS Dictionary. 8th ed. Falls Church, VA: APICS, 1995.

Laskiewicz, Mike. 4 Paths to Engineering, Maintenance Integration. Control Engineering 52, no. 2 (2005): 10.

Lee, Hsu-Hua. A Cost/Benefit Model for Investments in Inventory and Preventive Maintenance in an Imperfect Production System. Computers and Industrial Engineering 48, no. 1 (2005): 55.

Murphy, Frank. Once Organized, a Storeroom Must Be Run Correctly. Facilities Engineering Journal, June 2008. Available from:

Oke, S.A. An Analytical Model for the Optimisation of Maintenance Profitability. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management 54, no. 1/2 (2005): 113134.

Taninecz, George. Best Practices and Performances. IndustryWeek, 1 December 1997, 2843.

Wen-Jihn, Chen. Minimizing Total Flow Time and Maximum Tardiness with Periodic Maintenance.Journal of Quality Maintenance Engineering, 13 No. 3, 2007: 293303.

Wireman, Terry. Preventive Maintenance. New York: Industrial Press, 2007.

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Maintenance is an important aspect of military logistics and includes those activities needed to keep weapons, vehicles, and other materiel in an operable condition; to restore them to a serviceable condition when necessary; or to improve their usefulness through modifications. Such maintenance activities include inspection, testing, classification as to serviceability, adjustment, servicing, recovery, evacuation, repair, overhaul, and modification. Salvage and disposal are related functions.

Modern military equipment is complex and expensive and must be designed with reliability, durability, and ease of maintenance in mind. Thus, maintenance requirements, the potential usage of repair parts, and the tools and equipment needed to effect repairs are determined during the equipment development process, and operational capabilities must sometimes be sacrificed for greater reliability or ease of maintenance. Life cycle maintenance costs are also an important consideration inasmuch as the lifetime maintenance costs usually exceed an item's initial acquisition cost.

Traditionally, maintenance support has been divided into five levels, or echelons. User (first echelon) maintenance includes inspection, cleaning, tightening, lubrication, and minor adjustments performed by the equipment operator. Organizational (second echelon) maintenance is performed by unit maintenance personnel and involves recovery, evacuation, inspection, troubleshooting, and some replacement of parts and assemblies. Direct support (third echelon) maintenance is carried out by specialized maintenance units in fixed or semimobile maintenance facilities—or by mobile teams—and involves recovery, evacuation, inspection, replacement of major parts and assemblies, and the repair of some assemblies. Items repaired at the direct support level are normally returned to the using unit. General support (fourth echelon) maintenance involves the systematic repair and rebuilding of equipment and is generally performed by highly specialized maintenance units in fixed general support technical centers, each of which specializes in a particular type of equipment (e.g., combat vehicles or missiles). Items repaired or rebuilt at the general support level are returned to general stocks rather than to the using unit. Depot (fifth echelon) maintenance is also carried out by highly specialized maintenance personnel in fixed facilities; it involves the complete rebuilding of entire items and the renovation of major assemblies (such as motors or transmissions) for return to general stocks.

In recent years, the armed services have streamlined the maintenance process and now recognize only three echelons: user/direct support, intermediate/general support, and wholesale. In practice, the type and amount of work to be accomplished at each level is determined by the missions of the units involved, the probable operational situation, and the most cost‐effective use of available maintenance resources. The thrust of modern maintenance doctrine is to perform maintenance functions as far forward on the battlefield as possible by employing mobile repair teams, rapid battlefield recovery, and cannibalization (the reuse of serviceable parts taken from an otherwise unrepairable item). In general, it is easier and quicker to maintain a piece of equipment in a fully equipped fixed maintenance shop rather than in the field, but by maintaining equipment as far forward as possible, evacuation and repair time is minimized. Thus, the time an item is available to perform its combat function is increased.

Although some common maintenance support is provided by the General Services Administration and the Defense Logistics Agency, each of the armed services has its own system to provide every level of maintenance support. Army wholesale maintenance activities are overseen by the U.S. Army Materiel Command, which controls seven commodity‐oriented subordinate commands, each of which specializes in a particular type of materiel (e.g., wheeled vehicles or communications‐electronics equipment). Most army units, including maintenance units themselves, are organized with organic maintenance personnel and equipment. Thus, an infantry company normally has an organic maintenance section and an infantry division has an organic direct support maintenance battalion. Intermediate/general support maintenance activities are usually controlled by combat service support commands (e.g., a corps support command or a theater army area command).

The U.S. Marine Corps operates two distinct maintenance systems of its own, although the navy provides aviation and medical supply and maintenance support. Marine Corps base maintenance activities provide all levels of support for commercial‐type equipment or contract out what is beyond their capability. Fleet Marine Force units are supported by a system similar to that of army field forces, with organic maintenance units backed by specialized direct and general support maintenance units. Wholesale maintenance activities are carried out at Marine Corps logistics bases in Georgia and California.

Responsibility for navy maintenance activities is assigned to the Navy Systems Command, which oversees a number of specialized commodity‐oriented commands (e.g., the Naval Air Systems Command for naval aviation repair and the Naval Sea Systems Command for shipyards and ship repair facilities). User/direct support–level maintenance is performed by the using ship or air squadron. Intermediate/general support–level maintenance is performed in local repair facilities, which include combat logistics force ships and overseas bases. Wholesale‐level maintenance is performed in navy or commercial facilities in the continental United States.

Air force maintenance activities are the responsibility of the Air Force Logistics Command, which monitors the operation of five Air Logistics Centers. These centers, located in Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, and California, are centralized wholesale repair facilities. Retail aircraft maintenance is performed at air base level. For nontactical (transport and utility) aircraft, a centralized concept is employed, and the work is normally performed in fixed base maintenance facilities by air force maintenance squadrons. Tactical aircraft are also maintained by air force maintenance squadrons, using a more decentralized concept designed to produce the maximum number of combat sorties.

Effective and cost‐efficient maintenance systems are essential to the success of military forces on land, at sea, and in the air. The complexity of modern weapons systems and the large number of such systems deployed in all types of climatic and terrain require extraordinarily good design and effective maintenance procedures and personnel if they are to perform their intended functions. The ability to ensure that weapons, vehicles, and other equipment are available and function properly gives a military force a decided advantage over an opponent who does not have that ability.
[See also Weaponry.]


Headquarters, Department of the Army , The Department of the Army, 1977.
Headquarters, Department of the Army , Field Manual 54‐10: Logistics—An Overview of the Total System, 1977.
United States Army War College, Department of Military Strategy, Planning, and Operations , Materiel Logistics—Service Logistics: Concepts, Organization, and Planning, 1991.

Charles R. Shrader

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Unauthorized intervention by a nonparty in a lawsuit, in the form of financial or other support and assistance to prosecute or defend the litigation. The preservation of an asset or of a condition of property by upkeep and necessary repairs.

A periodic monetary sum paid by one spouse for the benefit of the other upon separation or the dissolution of marriage; also calledalimonyor spousal support.

At common law the offense of champerty and maintenance arose when a stranger bargained with a party to a legal action, undertaking to pay for the litigation in exchange for a promise of a portion of the recovery. The common-law doctrines of champerty and maintenance were designed to stop vexatious and speculative litigation supported by officious intermeddlers (nonparties with improper motives). These common-law principles have been adopted in varying degrees in the United States, depending on the particular state.

The term maintenance is also used to describe the expenses of preserving property, which may be deductible according to the applicable state or federal tax laws. Maintenance expenses are typically recurring, with the goal of preserving the particular asset in its original condition, to prolong its useful life. Maintenance differs from a repair because a repair is an expenditure designed to return an asset to its normal operating condition.

In family lawmaintenance is often used as a synonym for spousal support or alimony, and the term is in fact replacing alimony. Traditionally, alimony was solely the right of the wife to be supported by the husband. In Orr v. Orr, 440 U.S. 268, 99 S. Ct. 1102, 59 L. Ed. 2d 306 (1979), the U.S. Supreme Court held that an Alabama statute (Ala. Code § 30-2-51 to 30-2-53 [1975]) that provided that only husbands could be required to pay alimony violated the equal protection clause of the fourteenth amendment. Under current law alimony may be payment by either the wife or the husband in support of the other.

The award of spousal maintenance is generally determined based on all or some of the following guidelines: the recipient's financial needs; the payer's ability to pay; the age and health of the parties; the standard of living the recipient became accustomed to during the marriage; the length of the marriage; each party's ability to earn and be self-supporting; and the recipient's nonmonetary contributions to the marriage.

The amount and length of spousal maintenance payments may be agreed to by the parties and approved of by the court, or may be set by the court when the issue is contested. Some states have adopted financial schedules to help judges determine the appropriate level of support. Although maintenance generally takes the form of periodic payments of money directly to the recipient, it can also constitute a payment to a third party to satisfy an obligation of the receiving spouse. Maintenance may be set in a predetermined amount, such as $1,000 a month, or it may be a fluctuating percentage, such as 25 percent of the payer's gross income.

Spousal maintenance may be temporary or permanent. The parties generally may adjust its amount at a future date by returning to court and reassessing the relevant criteria at that time. In some states the parties may forever waive their right to spousal maintenance by written agreement.

Spousal maintenance payments always cease upon the death or remarriage of the recipient. Some states have adopted laws that provide for the termination of maintenance when the payer can show that the recipient is living with another person as if married, but has not remarried because he or she wants to continue to receive maintenance payments. Maintenance also generally terminates upon the death of the payer, although a minority of states will grant the receiving spouse a claim on the estate of the paying spouse. Alternatively, many states require the paying spouse to carry insurance on his or her life, payable to the recipient spouse, in lieu of granting the recipient the right to make a claim on the payer's estate.

Spousal maintenance that is periodic and made in discharge of a legal obligation is included in the gross income of the recipient and is deductible by the payer. Other voluntary payments, made by one spouse to the other, are not treated the same way by the tax code.

further readings

Cornick, Matthew S. 1995. A Practical Guide to Family Law. St. Paul, Minn.: West.



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main·te·nance / ˈmānt(ə)nəns; ˈmāntn-əns/ • n. 1. the process of maintaining or preserving someone or something, or the state of being maintained: crucial conditions for the maintenance of democratic government. ∎  the process of keeping something in good condition: car maintenance | [as adj.] essential maintenance work. 2. the provision of financial support for a person's living expenses, or the support so provided. ∎  alimony or child support. ∎  hist. Law the former offense of aiding a party in a legal action without lawful cause.

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1. (hardware maintenance) The performance of preventive or remedial maintenance on hardware in order to anticipate the onset of incipient faults or to correct a failure due to a hardware fault.

2. See software maintenance.

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"maintenance." A Dictionary of Computing. . (November 18, 2017).

"maintenance." A Dictionary of Computing. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from


maintenanceabeyance, conveyance, purveyance •creance • ambience •irradiance, radiance •expedience, obedience •audience •dalliance, mésalliance •salience •consilience, resilience •emollience • ebullience •convenience, lenience, provenience •impercipience, incipience, percipience •variance • experience •luxuriance, prurience •nescience • omniscience •insouciance • deviance •subservience • transience •alliance, appliance, compliance, defiance, misalliance, neuroscience, reliance, science •allowance •annoyance, clairvoyance, flamboyance •fluence, pursuance •perpetuance • affluence • effluence •mellifluence • confluence •congruence • issuance • continuance •disturbance •attendance, dependence, interdependence, resplendence, superintendence, tendance, transcendence •cadence •antecedence, credence, impedance •riddance • diffidence • confidence •accidence • precedence • dissidence •coincidence, incidence •evidence •improvidence, providence •residence •abidance, guidance, misguidance, subsidence •correspondence, despondence •accordance, concordance, discordance •avoidance, voidance •imprudence, jurisprudence, prudence •impudence • abundance • elegance •arrogance • extravagance •allegiance • indigence •counter-intelligence, intelligence •negligence • diligence • intransigence •exigence •divulgence, effulgence, indulgence, refulgence •convergence, divergence, emergence, insurgence, resurgence, submergence •significance •balance, counterbalance, imbalance, outbalance, valance •parlance • repellence • semblance •bivalence, covalence, surveillance, valence •sibilance • jubilance • vigilance •pestilence • silence • condolence •virulence • ambulance • crapulence •flatulence • feculence • petulance •opulence • fraudulence • corpulence •succulence, truculence •turbulence • violence • redolence •indolence • somnolence • excellence •insolence • nonchalance •benevolence, malevolence •ambivalence, equivalence •Clemence • vehemence •conformance, outperformance, performance •adamance • penance • ordinance •eminence • imminence •dominance, prominence •abstinence • maintenance •continence • countenance •sustenance •appurtenance, impertinence, pertinence •provenance • ordnance • repugnance •ordonnance • immanence •impermanence, permanence •assonance • dissonance • consonance •governance • resonance • threepence •halfpence • sixpence •comeuppance, tuppence, twopence •clarence, transparence •aberrance, deterrence, inherence, Terence •remembrance • entrance •Behrens, forbearance •fragrance • hindrance • recalcitrance •abhorrence, Florence, Lawrence, Lorentz •monstrance •concurrence, co-occurrence, occurrence, recurrence •encumbrance •adherence, appearance, clearance, coherence, interference, perseverance •assurance, durance, endurance, insurance •exuberance, protuberance •preponderance • transference •deference, preference, reference •difference • inference • conference •sufferance • circumference •belligerence • tolerance • ignorance •temperance • utterance • furtherance •irreverence, reverence, severance •deliverance • renascence • absence •acquiescence, adolescence, arborescence, coalescence, convalescence, deliquescence, effervescence, essence, evanescence, excrescence, florescence, fluorescence, incandescence, iridescence, juvenescence, luminescence, obsolescence, opalescence, phosphorescence, pubescence, putrescence, quiescence, quintessence, tumescence •obeisance, Renaissance •puissance •impuissance, reminiscence •beneficence, maleficence •magnificence, munificence •reconnaissance • concupiscence •reticence •licence, license •nonsense •nuisance, translucence •innocence • conversance • sentience •impatience, patience •conscience •repentance, sentence •acceptance • acquaintance •acquittance, admittance, intermittence, pittance, quittance, remittance •assistance, coexistence, consistence, distance, existence, insistence, outdistance, persistence, resistance, subsistence •instance • exorbitance •concomitance •impenitence, penitence •appetence •competence, omnicompetence •inheritance • capacitance • hesitance •Constance • importance • potence •conductance, inductance, reluctance •substance • circumstance •omnipotence • impotence •inadvertence • grievance •irrelevance, relevance •connivance, contrivance •observance • sequence • consequence •subsequence • eloquence •grandiloquence, magniloquence •brilliance • poignance •omnipresence, pleasance, presence •complaisance • malfeasance •incognizance, recognizance •usance • recusance

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"maintenance." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . 18 Nov. 2017 <>.

"maintenance." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . (November 18, 2017).

"maintenance." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved November 18, 2017 from