26 September 2022

The Big Mac index and alimony

By Dylan Bertsch

You may have heard of the Big Mac index. As an attorney or mediator, we also make use of this in the world of alimony. I will elaborate on this in this blog.

What is the Big Mac index?

The Big Mac index lists the prices of the Big Mac, McDonald’s most famous burger, in different countries around the world. It can be deduced from this the degree to which life is cheap or expensive in that particular country. The idea behind this index is that a Big Mac is equally expensive in every country. That is when measured against the price level in that country. The Big Mac index was created in 1986 by the British weekly The Economist.

How is it applied to alimony?

In many cases, parents (in the case of child support) and ex-spouses (in the case of spousal support) both live in the Netherlands. The Big Mac index plays no role in this situation. However, it can also happen that a case is heard in the Netherlands, but that a parent (in the case of child support) or an ex-spouse (in the case of spousal support) lives abroad. In such cases, the Big Mac index can be used. This may also be the case if a child lives abroad and a case is pending in the Netherlands regarding child support.

A recent example can be found in the ruling of the Court of Rotterdam. This case concerned child support, where the mother and children lived in the Netherlands and the father lived in Switzerland. Life in Switzerland is more expensive than in our country, but it was unclear how much. The father therefore used the Big Mac index and increased one component of the maintenance calculation by 1.63. That was the difference between the Netherlands and Switzerland at that time according to the Big Mac index. The Court of Rotterdam agreed and as a result the child support was determined taking into account the Big Mac index.

In conclusion

Do you have any questions about alimony? Please do not hesitate to contact me via d.bertsch@gmw.nl or 070 3615048.

Dylan Bertsch

Dylan Bertsch

Lawyer and mediator

Dylan is a committed and passionate lawyer who is specialised in family law.

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