Separate maintenance income is a form of income one spouse pays to another during a separation. This differs from alimony, which is a form of income one spouse pays to another following a divorce.
Separate maintenance income is something a judge has to order, and how this occurs varies by state. For example, some states may consider the amount to cover total support, but others only require this income to cover basic room and board. Those receiving this type of income will have to report it when they file their federal income taxes because it is considered a part of their gross annual income.