10 October 2018

Limited duration for alimony: an update

By Susan Meijler

Significant criticism followed the submission of a bill in 2015 which proposed a change to the limitation of the duration of alimony (partner maintenance) payments.

In 2018, three political parties therefore presented an amended bill which simplified the original proposal.

The date when the new Reimbursement Partner Alimony Act will be enacted is as yet uncertain, but more information is now available about the content of this bill.

Shorter duration of maintenance

The bill contains a proposal to shorten the duration of maintenance from a maximum of 12 to 5 years. If the new bill is adopted, then the obligation to pay maintenance will apply for a maximum of half the duration of the marriage. So if parties have been married for 8 years, the maximum duration of the maintenance obligation will be 4 years.

The court can deviate from this rule, but the term may never be longer than 5 years.


Two exceptions are proposed:

  1. If the spouses are caring for children up to 12 years old, then the duration of alimony remains 12 years. The reasoning for this is that children around the age of 12 usually go to secondary school, leaving the parent more time to combine caring for the child with a job.
  2. If the marriage has lasted for a long time and the maintenance creditor is at most 10 years younger than the then applicable AOW age, the maintenance may last a maximum of 10 years, up to the state pension age.

Hardship clause

In addition to these two exceptions, a hardship clause is proposed to be included in the new bill, which will allow the court to extend the duration of alimony in specific cases. This clause becomes relevant if: “termination of the benefit as a result of the expiration of the stipulated time is of such a radical nature that unchanged enforcement of this period shall be based on criteria of reasonableness and fairness of the person entitled to the benefit cannot be demanded “.

In other words, if the consequences of terminating the maintenance are unacceptable to the maintenance creditor, the judge can still make an exception to the new rules.

While the original bill also proposed a change to the basis for alimony, in the amended bill it shall remain as it is today: the solidarity between ex-spouses.

Who will the bill affect?

If or when the new Reimbursement Partner Alimony Act is enacted, it will not apply retroactively. So if your maintenance period is now 12 years old, it will not automatically shorten.

Do you have a question?

Feel free to contact me; I’ll be glad to assist you.


Susan Meijler

Susan Meijler


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

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