In this blog I will discuss, based on a specific case, to what extent the obligation to pay partner alimony (maintenance) ends when the maintenance recipient has a new partner and this new partner incurs expenses for the maintenance recipient.
Married or living together as if they were married
If the parties are divorced and one ex-partner pays maintenance to the other ex-partner, article 1: 160 DCC states when the payment obligation ends. The article states that the obligation to pay partner maintenance ends when the maintenance creditor remarries or lives with a new partner as if they were married. The right to receive maintenance therefore ends when this partner has a new relation with whom he or she runs a joint household or is married.
Luxury expenditure by the maintenance creditor’s new partner
In the judgment of the Arnhem-Leeuwarden Court of Appeal of November 24, 2020 (ECLI: NL: GHARL: 2020: 9745), the maintenance recipient has a new relationship. The new partner pays for luxury holidays, outings, dinners and a new car for the maintenance creditor. However, they are not married and do not live together. There is therefore no question of the aforementioned grounds from Article 1: 160 BW on which the payment obligation ends.
The maintenance debtor states in this case that his ex-partner no longer has a need to receive a contribution, because her new partner pays for many luxury things. He wants to get rid of the obligation to pay his ex-partner maintenance.
In this case, the Court considered that the new relationship of the maintenance recipient may play a role in determining the neediness of the maintenance recipient. It may be that, according to standards of reasonableness and fairness, it is unacceptable for the maintenance debtor to continue to pay the ex-partner a (full) maintenance contribution if the maintenance recipient has a new relationship.
In this situation, however, the Court is of the opinion that expenditure by the new partner on luxury items and holidays for the maintenance creditor does not lead to the partner maintenance obligation ending. This is because the new partner does not meet the marriage-related needs of the maintenance recipient with these payments. While the maintenance recipient benefits from the payments made by her new partner, the luxury treats are extras and do not replace her marriage-related needs. The new partner does not pay her bills and is not obliged to do so. For that reason, the Court sees no grounds for deducting the payments of the new partner from the needs of the maintenance recipient.
If the maintenance recipient has a new partner with whom he or she does not live together and is not married, but this new partner makes many payments for him or her, this does not automatically mean that the obligation to pay partner maintenance ends or that the contribution becomes reduced. The obligation to pay maintenance therefore remains unchanged as long as the expenditure does not meet the marriage-related needs.
Are you in a similar situation or do you have questions about this blog? Please feel free to contact me without obligation.