15 October 2021

Interesting ruling: Court ends alimony obligation because of cohabitation

By Susan Meijler

I have already written about Article 1:160 of the Dutch Civil Code on a number of occasions.

This is the provision whereby the partner alimony obligation ends because the ex-partner, in short, cohabits as if he or she were married. I notice that while there is a little more allowance made for the difficult position in which the alimony debtor finds themselves, the burden of proof is heavy. A ruling recently made in May of this year by the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal again caught my attention. I briefly outline the matter.

The man states that the woman is cohabiting and that his alimony obligation has therefore expired. The court denied the man’s request and the man appealed. In so far as is relevant here, the man wants the alimony to be terminated, that the woman must repay him the wrongly paid alimony and that the woman must reimburse the investigation costs of the detective agency which he has incurred.

The woman states that the relationship with her new partner has now changed. The Court ignores this and looks at the situation prior to that change alleged by the woman. The Court is of the opinion that there has been a cohabitation within the meaning of Art. 1:160 BW despite living together in two houses.

According to the court there is:

  • An affective relationship
  • The woman and her new partner spent a lot of time together in one of their homes. The man substantiated this with the help of a detective agency.
  • The woman and her new partner were able to enter each other’s home and had a bicycle in both homes
  • The woman and her new partner also stayed in each other’s house when the other was not present
  • The woman and her partner spent holidays together, helping each other with odd jobs, gardening, etc. in both homes
  • The woman and her partner were together for several periods when one of them was sick.

The Court ruled that the alimony obligation has ended, that the woman must repay the wrongly received alimony with interest to the man and that she must pay the investigation costs incurred by the man.

Do you have a question about this topic? Please feel free to contact me.

Susan Meijler

Susan Meijler


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

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