What is partner maintenance?

If either you or your ex-partner does not have enough income to live on, the other has a duty to provide financial support. This is called partner maintenance.

Amount of partner maintenance

You and your ex-partner can make agreements about the amount of maintenance. This is usually done in consultation with a mediator, lawyer or civil-law notary. If you cannot agree, the court can set the amount.

Duration of partner maintenance

For divorces settled on or after 1 July 1994, the maintenance debtor is obliged to pay maintenance to the recipient for:

  • up to 12 years in the case of a marriage with children;
  • up to 12 years in the case of a marriage without children if the marriage lasted longer than five years;
  • for the same amount of time as the marriage lasted in the case of a marriage without children that lasted less than five years.

After the statutory time limit has expired, the obligation to pay maintenance ends automatically. The time limits also apply in the case of a registered partnership terminated in court. No statutory time limit applies to divorces settled before 1 July 1994. The maintenance obligation ends on the date you and your ex-partner agreed or on the date set by the court.

Partner maintenance ends when ex-partner’s situation changes

The obligation to pay partner maintenance ends if the recipient:

  • has enough income to live on;
  • marries, enters into a registered partnership or moves in with someone else;
  • dies.

Changing or ending maintenance payments in court

In order to change or end maintenance payments, you must first have a lawyer file a petition with the court.

Unpaid partner maintenance

If the ex-partner obliged to pay maintenance fails to do so, the recipient can ask the National Maintenance Collection Agency (Landelijk Bureau Inning Onderhoudsbijdragen, LBIO) to collect the maintenance.

Annual increase (indexation)

Maintenance amounts are adjusted once a year, on the basis of the rise in average earnings. This is called indexation. In November the government agency responsible sets the percentage by which child maintenance amounts will automatically change on 1 January of the new year.