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Maintenance (or alimony): everything you need to know

What is alimony?

Maintenance, also known as alimony, is a legal concept that refers to the financial obligation to provide for the living expenses of another person. This obligation can arise within different contexts, where the aim is to protect the financial interests of dependent parties.

When do I have to pay alimony?

Should I pay child support for my child?

As a parent, you should be responsible for your child's upbringing and maintenance costs. This has nothing at all to do with whether you are also married to the other parent or not.

Are you raising your children together as a parent? Then you are jointly liable for those costs. If you live separately as parents, then you can make agreements about this.

Are you not fulfilling this duty? Then the other parent can go to court on behalf of the child to ask for child support from you. The judge will then decide whether and how much you have to pay for your children.

Do I have to pay maintenance to my ex-spouse?

After a divorce, you may be required to pay alimony to your ex-spouse under certain conditions.

  • If you are divorced on grounds of irretrievable dislocation, then in principle and within certain limits, you must pay alimony to your ex-spouse if he or she is indigent and has not been found guilty of partner violence or other serious misconduct, e.g. proven adultery.

After the termination of a de facto cohabitation or legal cohabitation, you are not obliged by law to pay alimony to your ex-spouse, even if he or she is indigent.

Alimony calculation

Calculating alimony is quite complicated and depends on many different things. Some of them are:

  • How much money both ex-partners earn: The income of the person paying and the person receiving the money is very important. They use this to determine how much alimony to pay.
  • Financial needs of the recipient: They look at what the person for whom the money serves needs to live. This covers things like housing, food, clothes, school and doctor visits.
  • How much responsibility each partner has: If there are children, they look at how much each parent does for parenting. This can affect how much child support should be paid.
  • Health and age of the partners: They also look at how healthy and old they are. Sometimes this can affect how much money someone can earn.
  • Other financial obligations: Sometimes people already have other financial obligations, such as debts. This can also affect how much alimony has to be paid.

It is important to know that there is no standard rule for alimony and it is often smart to seek help from a lawyer to understand how much money should be paid or received.

Problems with alimony?

In doing so, a lawyer has the knowledge and experience to make alimony as smooth as possible. It is often already an (emotionally) difficult period for you. The lawyer empathises with you, but knows the laws and knows which points it is best to pay special attention to. This way, your interests are best defended. Therefore, consult your lawyer as soon as possible so that you do not make any hasty agreements.

Your lawyer can also make your wishes clear to the judge in court in clear language.

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