Alimony in the Netherlands: What will change in 2020?
The law firm Franssen Advocaten in Amsterdam is specialised in (international) family law and Dutch and European immigration law.
A spouse can ask for alimony after the dissolution of the marriage. Usually, a spouse will ask for alimony if the other spouse was the primary provider in the marriage. In most cases, alimony will be awarded if the spouse can prove that they can’t support themselves after the divorce. Dutch law regarding spousal maintenance is applicable if the spouse who wants to receive alimony is living in the Netherlands.
As of January 1, 2020, there will be a new law which will determine the new maximum period a person has to pay alimony for after a divorce. The new law will be applicable to all new divorce procedures, initiated January 1, 2020, or later. At the moment, the maximum period is 12 years after registration of the divorce decree. The new law states that, in principle, the maximum period will now be 5 years and will equal 50% of the duration of the marriage.
For example, if you were married for 6 years, the maximum spousal maintenance period will be 3 years after divorce registration.
There are some exceptions, however. First of all, when minor children are involved, the spouse will have to pay alimony until their youngest child turns 12 years old. Another exception is marriages of 15 years or longer where the spouse seeking spousal maintenance will receive a state pension (“AOW-age”) within 10 years after the divorce.
The following exemption will only be valid until January 1, 2027; the maximum term for ex-spouses receiving spousal maintenance who are 50 years or older and were married for at least 15 years, will be 10 years.
The right to receive alimony will end when the receiving spouse remarries or starts living with a new partner. This is also the case currently and will not change.
Divorce now or wait until the new law comes into effect?
The Dutch government felt that Dutch law regarding the maximum term an ex-spouse could receive spousal maintenance needed to be adapted, as the law was outdated and did not fit in with a modern society in which both partners are working or could easily find a job after a divorce.
For some, this means that it may be smart to start divorce proceedings before this new law takes effect, while for others it means that waiting until after January 1, 2020, could be a better idea. This depends on your personal situation, of course.
Owner of Franssen Advocaten in Amsterdam, Peggy Franssen has been an attorney for 20 years, specialising in international family law. If you need tailor-made advice about divorce and alimony, don’t hesitate to contact her.