If you have insufficient funds to pay for sustenance, your ex-partner may be subject to mandatory partner maintenance or child support. This is applicable for divorce, dissolution of a registered partnership or termination of a cohabitation contract (if this sets out a clause on payment of partner maintenance or child support).

In the first place, the sum needed for your subsistence must be determined, based on your expenditure pattern up to the divorce or end of the relationship. Key factors are your own actual or potential income and your personal wealth or assets.

If it becomes clear that you need a supplement from partner maintenance, the ability of your ex-partner to pay this amount is assessed. Maintenance calculations are prepared in accordance with guidelines. In summary, this is based on income less certain costs. If someone is an employee, this concerns the annual salary (including bonus, 13th month and certain employee benefits). If the ex-partner is self-employed or a DGA (director and major shareholder), this concerns the salary and dividend and/or current account withdrawals. Wealth and assets sometimes play a role in this respect. Someone with a low income but significant assets may sometimes be expected to convert some of the assets into liquid assets to pay the partner maintenance. Certain expenses are deducted from the income.

In the event of divorce, the obligation for payment of partner maintenance in principle applies for a 12-year period. If the marriage lasted less than five years, without underage children, the maintenance period is equal to the period of the marriage. After this period, the obligation to pay maintenance no longer applies. Generally, maintenance is paid on a monthly basis before the first of the month. The maintenance is automatically granted annual indexation determined by the government as per 1 January. The ex-partners may make mutual agreements on partner maintenance regarding duration and amount.

Maintenance may be adjusted by a court of law. In the Netherlands, partner maintenance is subject to income tax imposed on the receiving party and tax deductible for the paying party.