Partner alimony calculation for expats

Marjet Groenleer

In the previous two blogs on alimony calculation for expats, the focus was on the costs of expat children (blog 1 and blog 2). In this blog I am concentrating on partner alimony. The reference framework for the determination of the needs of the alimony recipient is the available means of the marriage. The income of expats is often built up of a basic income plus different types of allowances. The question arises what the effect of these allowances is on the need for alimony. To what extent do these form part of the available means of a marriage?

Allowances

The most common allowances are the household allowance, dependency allowance, the expatriation allowance, the education allowance, the hardship allowance, the post adjustment allowance and the housing allowance. Organisations such as EPO, Estec and OPCW have such allowances. The UN and ICC work with a post adjustment, for example. All allowances serve a specific goal. It would take too long to explain these in detail here.

The influence of allowances on the need

The needs of the alimony recipient are set at the amount required to maintain a position that is reasonably suitable for him or her in view of the available means of the marriage. This need is determined on the basis of a substantiated needs overview. Although the so-called 60% rule is still applied in practice in standard cases, in expat situations (certainly not standard cases) this rule is less suitable.

Case law on this differs from case to case. Allowances are sometimes taken into account and sometimes not. It depends on whether the alimony recipient lives in the Netherlands or abroad. A cautious conclusion appears to be that if the allowance relates to higher costs in a country where the alimony recipient no longer resides after the divorce, the allowance is not included in the need. Although the alimony recipient was used to this income, it does not form a necessity for the expenses in the future. Allowances relating to inconveniences in the country of the alimony payer also appear not to belong in the determination of the needs of those who no longer suffer those inconveniences (this includes hazard allowances, for example). In other cases it appears that allowances are viewed as a source of income which both parties were used to and on which the spending pattern was based. The alimony recipient still lives abroad and therefore still has, more or less, expat status, which is the reason why the associated costs may be included in the needs overview.

In conclusion

The allowances form part of the available financial means of the spouses. Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, they are included in the determination of the needs of the maintenance recipient for partner alimony. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Marjet van Yperen-Groenleer (m.vanyperen@gmw.nl, +31 (0)70 3615048).

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