maintenance part 3

Maintenance calculation for internationals part 3: partner maintenance

The previous two blogs on maintenance calculation for internationals focused on the costs of the children (blog 1 and blog 2). This third post in the series focuses on partner maintenance (alimony), which is determined by the available means in the marriage.

The income of international couples is often built up of a basic income plus various allowances. The question arises: what is the effect of these allowances on the maintenance? To what extent do these allowances form part of the available means in a marriage?

Partner maintenance vs. allowances

The most common allowances are the household allowance, dependency allowance, the expatriation allowance, and the education allowance (for the children). Others are 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 elaborate on this in detail here.

The influence of allowances on the need

The needs of the maintenance 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 within the marriage. Although the so-called 60% rule is still applied in practice in standard cases, in situations concerning internationals (certainly not standard cases), this rule is less suitable.

Case law on this differs. Allowances are sometimes taken into account and sometimes not. It depends on whether the maintenance recipient lives in the Netherlands or abroad, with costs of living taken into account. 

In some cases allowances are viewed as a source of income which both parties were used to and on which the spending pattern was based. The maintenance recipient, after having moved to another country, still lives abroad and therefore still has, more or less, expat status. Thus, the associated costs may be included in his or her needs.

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 maintenance (alimony).

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Learn more in part 4 of the blog series: Allowances and high costs


Marjet Groenleer - Expat lawyer (family law)

Marjet Groenleer is an attorney-at-law and associate partner at GMW lawyers in The Hague. She has been active in family law for more than 15 years, focused on on (international) divorces. Marjet is a trained divorce mediator with the vFAS (Dutch Association of Family mediators and lawyers).

Marjet has a particular interest and a profound knowledge of the international aspects of family law. She is an expert in dealing with complex financial and multi-jurisdictional cases of an international family breakdown. Because of her experience and previous jobs, she is familiar with several foreign legal systems. A great number of her clients are expats. She understands the needs of expats working for the various international organisations and companies based in The Netherlands, specifically in the area of The Hague (lsuch as EPO, Estec, OPCW, NATO, the tribunals, ICC, Shell, etc.)

Marjet worked as a lecturer in International Civil Law for several years and at the Court of Appeals in The Hague in the family law sector. Today, she is a deputy judge in the Court of Appeals in Amsterdam. Marjet publishes regularly in professional journals and keeps you informed of the various complex aspects of (international) divorces with her weblogs.