1 April 2024

Does loss of income mean higher child maintenance?

By Susan Meijler

A parent may suffer a loss of income due, for instance, to not being able to find a new job. Under the law, child maintenance may be adjusted in such circumstances.

The Arnhem Leeuwarden Court of Appeal recently ruled that the amount of child maintenance is sometimes wrongly adjusted. In this case, the former husband was entitled to a refund because he had paid too much maintenance. This blog will discuss loss of income and adjustment of the amount of child maintenance based on this judgement.

When is there a loss of income?

There are situations in which a parent earns less, and therefore suffers a loss of income, for example if they fall ill or lose their job. This makes it harder for a parent to care for the child or pay child maintenance.

Level of adjustment of child maintenance

At such time as a parent is no longer able to earn their former income, they are eligible for an adjustment in the amount of child maintenance. A parent is not eligible for this if they themself are responsible for the loss of income. For example, if they quit their job without good reason. In this case, the child maintenance to be paid or received will remain the same.

If the loss of income is not self-inflicted, for example if it is due to illness, then the court will take the loss of income into account.

What happened in this case?

The former wife had indicated that she was working fewer hours because she was unable to find a comparable new job. This meant that the former husband had to pay more child maintenance so that she could continue to support the children. Several months later she still had not found a new job. She informed the court that she was only able to work 16 hours a week. This fell short of the expectations of the Court that she would resume working 32 hours a week. The former wife disagreed with this and appealed against the ruling.

During the appeal, she indicated that she had had several job interviews but had unfortunately been rejected each time. This meant that she was unable to find a new job for 32 hours a week. The former husband disagreed, and claimed that he was paying too much child maintenance. He alleged that his former wife had provided the Court with false job application documents. Ultimately, the Court of Appeal found that the applications provided by the woman were insufficient. She could have avoided the loss of income. As a result, the former husband had paid too much child maintenance for several months. Therefore he was entitled to a refund.

More information

Do you need assistance with child maintenance or would like other legal advice? Please do not hesitate to contact me directly. I will be happy to help you.

Susan Meijler

Susan Meijler


Susan Meijler is a well-experienced and versatile lawyer at GMW lawyers.

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