Maintenance Payments Relief

Legally enforceable maintenance payments

Legally enforceable maintenance payments are:

  • payments you make to a former partner under:
    • a court order
    • a deed of separation
    • any other legal commitment (such as a covenant).
  • periodic (annual, monthly, weekly).

If the payment does not meet the criteria above, it will be treated as a voluntary payment.

You may be legally required to regularly pay an amount on behalf of your former partner, such as a mortgage payment. This is treated as a legally enforceable maintenance payment to your former partner.

The payment can also be made in advance of the termination of your relationship being finalised, if legally enforceable.

Tax treatment of legally enforceable maintenance payments

Legally enforceable payments must be paid in full. You cannot deduct an amount from the payment.

You can claim tax relief on the amount you have paid for the benefit of your former partner.

You cannot claim tax relief for any amount of a maintenance payment made for the benefit of your children.

Your former partner's tax treatment

Your former partner will pay the following on each payment made to them for their benefit: 

They will not pay tax on any amount you pay for your children.


You and your former partner must not be taxed as a married couple for this treatment to apply.

If you are taxed as a married couple, all legally enforceable maintenance payments will be ignored for income tax purposes.

Next: Voluntary maintenance payments