When are you allowed to terminate your partner alimony obligation?

If the court decides after a divorce that you are obliged to pay alimony to your ex-partner, this is bound to a certain period of time. Despite this period of time, in practice it often happens that after some time you can unilaterally reduce or even end the alimony altogether. Are you obliged to pay alimony to your ex-partner and have you found out, for example, that he or she is living with a new partner? In that case, you have a reason to terminate the alimony obligation. However, you must be able to prove that there is a cohabitation. If you have lost your job or otherwise have less financial capacity, then this is also a reason to reduce the partner alimony. If your ex-partner does not agree to a change or terminate the alimony, you can arrange this in court. You will need a lawyer to do this. A lawyer will have to submit an application for this to the court. Based on this application and the opposing party’s defence, the court will make a decision. Law & More’s divorce lawyers are specialised in questions relating to partner alimony. If you think that your ex-partner is no longer allowed to receive partner alimony or if you think that the amount should be reduced, please contact our experienced lawyers directly so that you do not pay alimony unnecessarily.

When are you allowed to terminate your partner alimony obligation?

The obligation to maintain your ex-partner can end in the following ways:

  • One of the ex-partners dies;
  • The alimony recipient remarries, cohabits, or enters into a registered partnership;
  • The alimony recipient has enough income himself or herself or the person who is obliged to pay alimony can no longer pay alimony;
  • The mutually agreed term or the legal term expires.

The termination of the obligation to pay alimony has major consequences for the alimony recipient. He or she will have to miss out on a certain amount per month. The judge will therefore make a careful assessment before such a decision is made.

New relationship ex-partner
A common point of discussion in practice concerns the cohabitation of the alimony recipient. In order to terminate partner alimony, there must be a cohabitation ‘as if they were married’ or as if they were in a registered partnership. There is only a cohabitation as if they were married when the cohabitants have a common household, when they have an affective relationship that is also lasting and when it turns out that the cohabitants take care of each other. It must therefore be a long-term cohabitation, a temporary relationship does not have this purpose. Whether all these requirements are fulfilled is often decided by a judge. The judge will interpret the criteria in a limited way. This means that the judge does not easily decide that there is a cohabitation as if they were married. If you want to terminate the obligation of partner alimony, you have to prove the cohabitation.

If there is indeed a case of ‘living together again’ with a new partner, then the person who is entitled to partner alimony has definitively lost his or her right for alimony. This is also the case when your ex-partner’s new relationship is broken off again. Therefore, you cannot be obliged to pay alimony to your ex-partner again, because his or her new relationship has ended.

New relationship alimony payer
It is also possible that you, as an alimony payer, will get a new partner with whom you will marry, cohabit or enter into a registered partnership. In that case, in addition to your obligation to pay alimony to your ex-partner, you will also have a maintenance obligation to your new partner. In some situations, this may lead to a reduction in the amount of alimony payable to your ex-partner because your bearing capacity has to be divided between two people. Depending on your income, this could also mean that you can end the alimony obligation towards your ex-partner, because your ability to pay is insufficient.

Ending the partner alimony obligation together
If your ex-partner does agree with the termination of the partner alimony, you can have this laid down in a written agreement. Law & More’s lawyers can draw up a formal agreement for you. This agreement must then be signed by you and your ex-partner.

Making arrangements for partner alimony
You and your ex-partner are free to agree on the duration and amount of the partner alimony together. If nothing has been agreed on the duration of alimony, the legal term automatically applies. After this period, the obligation to pay alimony ends.

The legal term for partner alimony
If you are divorced before 1 January 2020, the maximum duration of partner alimony is 12 years. If the marriage has not lasted longer than five years and you have no children, the term of alimony is equal to the duration of the marriage. These legal terms are also applicable at the end of a registered partnership.

from 1 January 2020 there are other rules in force. If you are divorced after 1 January 2020, the period of alimony is equal to half of the duration of the marriage, with a maximum of 5 years. However, a few exceptions have been made to this rule:

  • If you have been married for 15 years and you can claim your old-age pension within 10 years, you can claim alimony until the old-age pension takes effect.
  • Are you over 50 years old and have you been married for at least 15 years? In that case, the maximum period of alimony is 10 years.
  • Do you have children under the age of 12? In that case, the partner alimony continues until the youngest child reaches the age of 12.

If you are in a situation that justifies termination or reduction of partner alimony, do not hesitate to contact Law & More. Law & More’s specialised lawyers can advise you further on whether it is wise to start proceedings to reduce or even terminate alimony.

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