If the marriage ultimately does not work out, you and your partner may decide to divorce. This often results in an alimony obligation for you or your ex-partner, depending on your income. The alimony obligation may consist of child support or partner support. But for how long do you have to pay for it? And can you get rid of it?
Duration of child support
We can be brief about child maintenance. This is because the duration of child support is laid down by law and cannot be deviated from. By law, child support must continue to be paid until the child reaches age 21. Sometimes, the obligation to pay child support can end at 18. This depends on your child’s economic independence. If your child is over 18, has an income at the welfare level, and is no longer studying, he is considered capable of taking care of himself financially. For you, this means that even though your child is not yet 21 years old, your child support obligation lapses.
Duration of spousal support
Also, concerning partner alimony, the law contains a deadline after which the alimony obligation expires. Unlike child support, ex-partners can deviate from this by making other agreements. However, have you and your ex-partner not agreed on the duration of partner alimony? Then the statutory term applies. When determining this term, the moment you divorce is essential. Here, a distinction is made between divorces before 1 July 1994, divorces between 1 July 1994 and 1 January 2020, and divorces after 1 January 2020.
Divorced after 1 January 2020
If you divorced after 1 January 2020, the maintenance obligation will, in principle, apply for the duration of half the time the marriage lasted, with a maximum of 5 years. However, there are three exceptions to this rule. The first exception applies if you and your ex-partner have children together. Indeed, in that case, spousal support only stops when the youngest child reaches the age of 12. Secondly, in the case of a marriage that has lasted longer than 15 years, where the alimony recipient is entitled to the AOW within ten years, the partner alimony continues until the AOW starts. Finally, partner alimony ends after ten years in cases where the alimony payer was born on or before 1 January 1970, the marriage lasted longer than 15 years, and the alimony payer will only receive AOW in more than ten years.
Divorced between 1 July 1994 and 1 January 2020
Partner alimony for those divorced between 1 July 1994 and 1 January 2020 lasts up to 12 years unless you have no children and the marriage lasted less than five years. In those cases, the spousal support lasts as long as the marriage lasts.
Divorced before 1 July 1994
Finally, there is no statutory term for ex-partners who divorced before 1 July 1994. If you and your ex-partner have not agreed on anything, partner maintenance will continue for life.
Other options for ending spousal support
In the case of spousal maintenance, there are several other situations where the maintenance obligation ends. These include when:
- You and your ex-partner agree together that the alimony obligation stops;
- You or your ex-partner dies;
- The maintenance recipient gets married to another person, cohabits, or enters into a civil partnership;
- The alimony payer can no longer pay the alimony; or
- The maintenance recipient has sufficient independent income.
There is also the possibility of mutually changing the amount of spousal support. Does your ex-partner disagree with a modification? Then you can also request this from the court. To do so, you must have a good reason, for example, because of a change in income.
Does your ex-partner want to modify or terminate alimony, and you disagree? Or are you the alimony payer and wish to eliminate your alimony obligation? If so, contact one of our lawyers. Our divorce lawyers are at your service with personal advice and will be happy to help you with any legal steps.