Alimony or maintenance for children is often a burning topic in the context of separation or divorce. When the parents are no longer living together it is also necessary to check whether or not maintenance or alimony should be paid by one parent to the other.
The law provides that each parent must contribute in proportion to their resources towards the cost of living, health, supervision, education, training and development of their children. In principle, each parent’s obligation to contribute continues up until the child becomes an adult, but if their education has not been completed by then, the contribution must continue after the start of adulthood.
These expenses are usually divided into two different types, namely ordinary expenses and extraordinary expenses. The normal costs cover all the usual expenses regarding the daily maintenance of the child, including accommodation and food. Extraordinary expenses are taken to mean exceptional, necessary or unforeseeable expenses resulting from accidental or unusual events, and which exceed the normal budget for the daily maintenance of the child, and if necessary, act as the basis for determining the exceptional maintenance contributions.
In the child maintenance budget, account is taken of the income of both parents and the contribution in kind that each parent is already making for example. It is therefore recommended that there is already clarity concerning the residence arrangements to be applied by the parents. The residence arrangements (e.g. bilocation arrangement or an ‘every other week’ arrangement, etc.,) can be agreed by the parents or ordered by a competent family court.
However, to date there is still no generally accepted method for estimating the amount of maintenance that has to be paid for children. Therefore every court and family court applies its own parameters for determining the amount of alimony to be paid.
It is therefore important to gather and file all relevant information accurately that is available before an estimate can be made of the amount of maintenance to be paid.
This requires careful legal work for which Keyser attorneys in Antwerp have acquired specific expertise.
It is important to gather and file all relevant information accurately that is available
With respect to the divorce procedure, discussions can arise about whether one spouse must pay maintenance or alimony to the other.
On the one hand, an important distinction should be made between the personal maintenance contributions that can arise during the divorce proceedings which allow the economically weaker spouse to maintain the same standard of living as if there had been no divorce.
And on the other hand, there’s the maintenance allowance or payment that is paid to the needy ex-spouse after the divorce. In principle this maintenance payment should be paid for a period equivalent to the period of the marriage.
In the case of mutual consent divorces, the spouses are free to agree an alimony arrangement in the settlement deed. If the parties disagree, then a family court will have to rule on the issue.
CASE FOLLOW-UP AND ADJUSTMENTS
Discussions can continue even after the claim for maintenance has been ordered or agreed. Entering into a new relationship, remarriage by either of the ex-spouses, or a changed income situation of one of the ex-spouses can lead to scrapping, reducing or increasing the maintenance payment after the divorce.
Specialising in family law and family property law, Keyser attorneys in Antwerp have acquired extensive expertise in this field and can give support within the context of negotiations and, if necessary, in the context of proceedings before the family court or the Court of Appeal.