Legal parents but also a man that ‘only’ conceived the child or a woman who – as a partner of the mother consented in a deed that may have caused the conceiving of the child – are legally obliged to pay a contribution towards the upbringing and care of a child. Child support is mandatory until the child turns 18 years of age. After the child has reached the age of 18 a further contribution may be owed if the child is still studying or cannot financially provide for itself. In such cases support is owed until the child turns 21 years of age and payable to the child itself as child support is – in general – to be paid to the parent where a child has its place of residence.
Child maintenance is usually determined by using a standard calculation, establishing the needs of the child on the one hand, and what those who are obliged to provide for the child (further for simplicities sake only to be called: parents) can afford (financial capacity) on the other.
The child’s needs are typically calculated by referring to the so-called Nibud standards (the Dutch National Institute for Family Finance Information). The calculation of the children’s needs is based on the joint income of both parents during their relationship, the number of children in the family, and their ages, with the help of the mentioned Nibud standard table. The financial capacity of each parent is based on their current yearly income divided by 12, keeping in mind a certain amount of predetermined costs of living including an amount for housing costs which are calculated by taking 30% of the 1/12 of the yearly income.
The amount of child support is limited to the need of the child or the financial capacity of the parent. As such no child is receiving more than it needs as no parent shall have to pay more than he or she is able to. Furthermore the amount of time the child spends with each parent is also factored in to the calculation. The more time a child spends with a parent, the more costs that parent pays directly for the child in his own household. This results in a lower maintenance payment to the other parent as these costs are already taken care of by the parent who is obligated to pay maintenance himself.
There are two ways in which child maintenance is determined. Parents can agree on an amount amicably and choose to put this in writing or not. When parties choose to put the child maintenance agreement in writing they can include this in a parenting plan. The child maintenance agreement or the parental plan can be ratified by the court and – if necessary – be enforced should any default occur.
If the parents cannot agree upon an amount, the courts will determine the amount of maintenance owed using the above mentioned way of calculation. In case a parent has no financial capacity based on the calculation the legal guidelines determine that a parent must pay a minimum of € 25,00 per child per month (per 01-01-2020) with a maximum of € 50,00 a month. So, should this person with no capacity have four children he or she will have to pay
€ 50,00 a month.
The courts will, in principle, follow the strict standard calculation. If, however there are special circumstances, other factors – such as debts – can be taken into account, making it not as easy as it sounds to calculate maintenance.
Examples of special circumstances are a parent or child living in a country where the standard of living is very different from The Netherlands or expats living in the Netherlands on whose income special tax regimes applies.
In such cases it may be argued that the Dutch standard calculation based on the Dutch tax regime is not applicable or should be adjusted for the actual circumstances. Take, for example, a parent living in Sweden, where living costs are much higher than the standard in The Netherlands. Or on the other extreme, a child living in a country with a very low standard of living such as Thailand; paying maintenance at the Dutch standard may in that case be financing much more than the child’s needs.
Another factor can be the cost of travel in order to visit the child. This is not taken into account in the standard calculation, but may be substantial.
Regardless of how complex your situation may seem, do not hesitate to call us for advice or to make an appointment with one of our lawyers. We are happy to assist you.