The amount of maintenance paid for children and spouses is subject to annual statutory indexation. Each year, the Minister for Legal Protection determines the alimony index. This means that the alimony you are liable to pay increases according to the percentage determined by Statistics Netherlands (Centraal Bureau voor de Statistiek/CBS). If you are currently paying alimony, from 1 January 2020 you will have to pay a higher amount.
For 2020, the percentage has been set at 2,5%. This means that the alimony determined in your divorce agreement or verdict of the Court will be increased by 2,5% from 1 January 2020.
The person who pays alimony has to adjust the amount themselves without a request from the entitled party. However, it is advisable to remind your ex-spouse in time. In my
practice, I have many clients whose alimony has never been indexed. Either because of ignorance or on purpose. Fortunately, the unpaid amount can be claimed retrospectively over a maximum of 5 years.
Here are two quick examples to show you what statutory indexation means in practice:
Example 1: Alimony set in 2019
In 2019, alimony was set at an amount of € 1.000,– per month. Unless there were any other agreements made, this amount will be increased by 2,5% according to the statutory indexation. This will result in an extra € 25,– due to be paid. Therefore, with effect from 1 January 2020, the alimony to be paid to the entitled party will be for the amount of € 1.025,–.
Example 2: Alimony set in 2016
If alimony was set at € 1.000,– in 2016, it will be increased every year thereafter according to the statutory indexation. This percentage was 2,1% in 2017, 1,5% in 2018, 2,0% in 2019 and 2,5% in 2020. The table below shows the effect this has on the amount of alimony payable.
|Year||Indexation percentage||Amount incl. indexation|
From 1 January 2020 the original amount of € 1.000,– that was specified in 2016 has increased by € 83,48. The total amount payable in 2020 will therefore be € 1.083,48.
No indexation applied to your alimony?
If the alimony that you have been paid has not increased annually according to statutory indexation, then my advice is to inform your ex-spouse in writing and point out that they are legally obliged to pay the additional amount.
There are, as ever, a couple of exceptions to the indexation rule.
Increased alimony payments according to statutory indexation are not applicable:
- if different arrangements have been made;
- if indexation is excluded (temporarily) by the judge;
- if alimony agreements date from before 1st January 1973. (Arrangements made before this date about increases to alimony will apply unchanged.)
If you have questions about the statutory indexation of child and spousal alimony, or about another subject in family law, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
This blog is written in cooperation with Bianca Kok-Beekhuizen, legal assistant for the family law section of GMW lawyers.