3 February 2024

One-off maintenance payment

By Lise-Milou Lagerwerf

After divorce, one of the partners may have a maintenance obligation in the form of child maintenance or partner maintenance. Maintenance is often paid by one ex-partner to the other on a monthly basis. It is also possible to pay maintenance to an ex-partner in the form of a one-off payment or lump sum.

One-off payment by mutual agreement

If the parties mutually settle the consequences of the divorce and there is a maintenance obligation, it regularly happens that the partner obliged to pay maintenance to the partner entitled to maintenance does so in one lump sum. In practice, this happens more often with partner maintenance than with child maintenance. The advantage of a one-off payment for the maintenance debtor is that he or she is discharged from the maintenance obligation altogether.

For the maintenance recipient, a one-off payment offers financial security. The maintenance cannot go down in the future and risks associated with collecting the amount are reduced. At the same time, there may be disadvantages to a one-off payment. For the payer, no allowance is made for any future worse financial situation: the one-off payment cannot be reduced retroactively. Conversely, the contribution cannot be adjusted upwards either if the financial situation of the payer improves.

It is important to take into account the amount of tax to be paid on a one-off payment for partner maintenance. A one-off payment is often calculated on a net basis. While the recipient has to pay tax on the amount, the payer can deduct the amount from taxes. For this purpose, advice should be sought from a tax expert and arrangements should be made as to who pays the tax. This issue does not arise for a one-off payment of child maintenance because no tax is paid on this amount.

One-off payment via court proceedings impossible

An application for a one-off payment of child maintenance was rejected by the Court of Midden-Nederland (ECLI:NL:RBMNE:2022:5120). In these proceedings, the former wife had asked the court to order the former husband pay a one-off amount of child maintenance until the child turned 18, being a sum of €30,125.55. She argued that there was a collection risk because the former husband lived abroad.

The court considered that the law states that when determining child maintenance, it must be decided whether this amount is transferred weekly, monthly or quarterly. As a result, it was not possible for the Court to render a decision on a one-off payment. The request of the former wife was denied. It is therefore impossible to request a one-off payment of child maintenance via the Courts.

More information

Do you have a legal question or would like more information? Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Lise-Milou Lagerwerf

Lise-Milou Lagerwerf


Lise-Milou specialises in family law. Her focus is on (international) divorces.

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