Alimony can relate to a child or an ex-partner. In both cases, this concerns an amount to provide for the maintenance of that child or ex-partner. It is possible to change or stop alimony at any time. You can also force a non-paying ex-partner to meet his or her alimony obligation.
What is alimony?
There are two types of alimony. Child support and spousal support. Child support is a financial contribution to the maintenance of your child. Partner alimony concerns a financial contribution to an ex-partner after a divorce or termination of a registered partnership. This contribution is paid by the most wealthy ex-partner and is intended to provide for the livelihood of the least wealthy ex-partner.
When do you have to pay child support?
As a non-custodial parent, you pay for the care and upbringing of your minor child(ren). You pay a contribution to the custodial parent. This only applies if you are able to pay alimony. If the child is between 18 and 21 years old and is studying or cannot yet provide for his or her own living, you will also pay alimony. This lasts until the child is 21 years old. To calculate the amount of alimony, you need the income information of your ex-partner and yourself.
Determine child support
There are two ways to determine alimony. The first way is in consultation with each other in the presence of a professional lawyer who handles divorce cases. You will then determine in consultation what the alimony amounts will be. This is recorded in a so-called divorce agreement. This is a legally valid document containing all agreements regarding alimony. If this mutual agreement is very difficult or even impossible, you can have alimony determined by a judge. The judge uses a certain percentage of the income of both parents. This part must be spent on the child, the so-called need of the child. Once both amounts have been determined, the capacity of the non-caring partner is taken into account. This partner must of course be able to pay the alimony.
Determine spousal support
You can also determine spousal support in two ways. As with child support, this can be done by mutual agreement. These agreements are also recorded in a divorce agreement in the presence of a specialized lawyer. The second way to arrange spousal support is through the courts. The judge then compares the needs of the requesting ex-partner and the capacity of the other partner. The judge always opts for a balanced alimony, so that the alimony is balanced.
When does spousal support stop?
Marriages shorter than five years
If the marriage lasted less than five years and no children were produced, the alimony obligation lasts as long as the number of years the marriage lasted.
All other marriages
For marriages that have lasted longer than five years, or for marriages that have produced children, the alimony obligation lasts a maximum of twelve years.
If an ex-partner who receives alimony enters into a new relationship involving cohabitation, a registered partnership or marriage, the alimony obligation ends.
Stop in between
If the ex-partner who receives alimony at a certain point has considerably more income so that there is no longer a need for alimony, the alimony obligation will stop.
Spousal support maximum 12 years?
The obligation to pay spousal support can last up to twelve years. This can be deviated from in the following situations:
- Both parties agree that the alimony obligation will last longer.
- The maintenance obligation arose before the Alimony Limitation Act came into effect (as of July 1, 1994).
- If alimony stops, the receiving ex-partner will experience financial problems. An extension of alimony can be requested within three months of the end of the alimony term.
The ex-partner does not want to pay alimony
If the court has determined who must pay how much alimony, you can contact the National Office for the Collection of Maintenance Contributions (LBIO). This is a free government agency that will then take over the collection of alimony from you. The costs of collection will be recovered from the ex-partner with the maintenance obligation.
Indexation of alimony
Normally, alimony is indexed on January 1 each year based on the wage index figure. This applies to both alimony determined by the judge and alimony that has been mutually agreed upon.
It is always possible to change the established alimony. The judge can reconsider the situation and determine alimony again. It is also possible to adjust the alimony by mutual agreement, which will then change the divorce agreement.
Alimony and taxes
The tax authorities set standard amounts for alimony. If the monthly alimony for a child is more than the standard amount, the part above the standard is deductible. You can fully deduct spousal support in Box 1 as a personal deduction.