Statutory Indexation of Child and Spousal Alimony
Each year, the Minister of Justice determines the alimony index. For 2011, the percentage is 0.9%, meaning that the allowance concluded in your divorce convenant or temporary order will be automatically raised with 0.9% as of 1st January 2011. This percentage is based on the wage index which is determined by Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek/CBS).
The maintenance debtor has to adjust the amount himself without a request from the entitled party to that effect. However, it is advisable to remind your ex-spouse in time. In my practice, I have many clients whose alimony has never been indexed. Either because of ignorance or on purpose. Fortunately, the unpaid amount can be claimed over a maximum of 5 years, with retrospective effect.
A quick example to show you what it means in practice:
Suppose, in 2006 (or rather at the end of 2005) your alimony is € 1,000 per month. Taking into account the index percentage from 2006 until 2010, you can claim € 1,389.70 as unpaid alimony. Moreover, from 2011 onwards you will be entitled to € 1,125.85 a month. Starting with € 2,000.00, you can claim € 2,778.74 and the new alimony as of 2011 will be € 2,231.56. And so forth.
In case you have not been paid the indexation over the years, my advise is to inform your ex spouse in writing and point out he is legally obligated to pay.
There are, as ever, a couple of exceptions to the indexation rule:
- if different arrangemants have been made;
- if indexation is excluded (temporarily) by the judge;
- if alimony agreements date from before 1st January 1973; arrangements made before this date about the development of the amount will apply unimpaired.
Should you have any questions on this subject or any other subject of family law, please don’t hesitate to contact me.