Child support

Child support is the amount one parent pays to the other after a divorce, contributing towards the children’s expenses. As parents, if you separate, you remain legally obligated to contribute to your children’s costs based on your income. Until your child is 18, you will remain jointly responsible for the costs of care and upbringing, according to your means. In certain situations, you may be obliged to continue to pay the costs of living and studying until your child is 21, according to your means.

Typically, the parent with whom the child primarily resides receives child support from the other parent. However, there may also be an obligation to pay alimony in cases of co-parenting.

What can we help you with?

On this page, we provide comprehensive information about child support. We know from experience that disputes about child support can cause stress. If you have questions resulting from this information, or need advice or assistance, please feel free to contact us for:

Our lawyers have more than 15 years of experience with alimony issues, not only in Dutch family law but also in cases of international divorces.

What is child support?

Child support is the amount that one parent pays to the other parent after a divorce as a contribution towards the costs of the children. As parents, if you separate, you remain legally obliged to contribute to the costs of the children according to your income.

Children usually reside with one of their parents. In such cases, the other parent, who does not have primary custody, typically pays the custodial parent a financial contribution for the child’s care and upbringing. This financial contribution is called child support. Incidentally, there may also be an obligation to pay child support if you are co-parenting; for example, if one of you earns much more than the other. This is due to the fact that the obligation to pay child support is based on financial capacity, not on the amount of time spent with the children.

When am I entitled to child support?

You are entitled to child support if your ex-partner, the legal parent of your child, has a higher income than you.

The amount of child support is calculated on the basis of alimony norms (The Netherlands called Trema normen) and depends on the child’s needs. This agreement will be recorded in your parenting plan. A child’s needs depend, among other things, on:

  • the net family income before the divorce
  • the capacity of the parents
  • the number of children in the family
  • the age of the children
  • the care arrangement that is agreed on in the parenting plan

Why do I have to pay child support?

The care and education of children entail various costs, such as food, clothing, toys, school fees, and expenses for sports and hobbies. As a parent, you are responsible for the care and upbringing of your children and must therefore cover these costs. If your children are going to live with your ex-partner, he or she will bear many of the costs. Because you are jointly responsible for the upbringing and care of your children, you must contribute to this. That’s the purpose of child support.

Is child support compulsory?

When children live with one of their parents, there is often a visitation arrangement with the other parent. This parent is also referred to as the non-custodial parent. The non-custodial parent has an obligation to pay alimony and is obliged to contribute financially to the care of the children. This also applies to the parent with whom the children have their main residence. This parent already incurs the daily living expenses for the children.

In principle, the obligation to contribute financially to the costs of the children applies until the children reach the age of 21 or are financially independent. Children aged 18 to 21 who are still studying are not considered financially independent. A child who works or has a long-term paid internship and is between the ages of 18 and 21 is expected to be self-supporting. The alimony obligation will then lapse. The age of 21 may be raised to 25 in the future.

For children aged 21 or older who have a disability or who are unable to support themselves for another reason, the child support may continue for a longer period. Of course, you can agree that even after a child has reached the age of 21 and is not (fully) financially independent, you will continue to pay alimony. A good example of this is a student who is studying. It is advisable to record this agreement in writing.

When do I have to pay child support?

You must pay child support if the following applies to you:

  • You are getting divorced or separated.
  • You and your ex-partner have children under the age of 21 who are not yet financially independent or who have a disability.
  • Uw kinderen wonen bij uw ex-partner en u heeft een omgangsregeling met uw kinderen, of u heeft co-ouderschap maar u verdient meer dan uw ex-partner.

How is child support calculated?

When calculating child support, the following are taken into account:

  • The needs of the child/children
  • The family income
  • The ability of the debtor to pay alimony
  • The rules of conduct
  • The amount of any child-related budget.

The starting point for determining the amount of child support is that children do not lose out as a result of parental divorce. Sometimes, however, this is unavoidable due to the lack of financial resources of the parent liable for maintenance.

Who determines the amount of child support?

Your ex-partner and you will make agreements about child support, including the amount. You will state these agreements in the parenting plan. In the case of a marriage or registered partnership, the court checks the amount against the alimony standards and guidelines described in the TREMA report. Ultimately, the judge makes the agreements final.

If you were not married, you are not obliged to submit the amount of alimony to the court. You can privately arrange this together. It is advisable to use the standards of the court as a starting point. If you can’t come to an agreement, you will have to go to court.

Who determines the need for child support?

If your children live with your ex-partner, you have a maintenance obligation and therefore also an alimony obligation. ou are financially responsible for the care and education of your children. When determining the amount of child support, the court determines the children’s need for child support. The judge uses special tables and assumes incomes as they were before the divorce. The main goal is that the child does not lose out as a result of parental divorce. This determines the need for child support.

How much child support will I pay in a divorce?

The exact amount of child support is different for everyone. It depends on the income and expenses of your ex-partner and you, the need for alimony and the ability of the person who has to pay the alimony. The main goal is that the child does not lose out as a result of parental divorce. Child support must ensure that the child receives as much care as before the divorce. Sometimes this is not possible because the financial capacity of the parent who has to pay alimony is not sufficient. The amount may then be lower.

Is annual child support indexation mandatory?

In principle, wages increase every year, and so does the cost of living (inflation), so child support is also increased annually. This is known as indexing. To this end, each November, the government sets the percentage by which the current alimony must be adjusted in January of the following year.

However, this increase is not mandatory. You and your ex-partner can agree that you do not want the statutory indexation to apply; for example, maybe your wages will not change. In addition, you can choose not to apply indexing for a certain period of time. In both cases, you must submit this to the court.

How much alimony will I receive per child?

The amounts for child support per child are on average between € 100 and € 500 per month. The exact amount of child support will depend on your specific situation. Based on figures from NIBUD, we can give you the following example of alimony per child:

If you have a family with two children and an average income, care for a child’s needs will cost approximately € 400 per month. Using the TREMA report, which judges use to calculate the amount of alimony, the alimony per child comes to €140 per month.

What is the minimum amount for child support?

The minimum amount that can be paid for child support is € 25 per child per month. This amount applies if the paying parent has a minimum income.

What is the maximum amount for child support?

There is no maximum amount for child support. The amount of child support depends on your ex-partner’s and your incomes and expenses, the children’s need for child support and the payer’s ability to pay.

What costs are covered by child support?

In principle, all costs for the upbringing and care of your children fall under child support. A distinction is made between accommodation costs, accommodation-exceeding costs and extraordinary costs.

Accommodation costs are the costs you have when your children are with you. Think of:

  • Food and drink
  • Body care
  • Housing
  • Trips and holidays
  • Toys

Overstay costs include:

  • Clothes and shoes
  • The hairdresser
  • Sports dues and supplies
  • Costs for music lessons and instruments
  • Subscriptions
  • A bicycle or costs for public transport
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses

Extraordinary costs are costs that occur once or occasionally. Think of costs for glasses, braces, driving lessons or a study. In principle, all of the above falls under child support. You are responsible for including these costs in the calculation of alimony. If you do not include the costs of glasses, for example, but your child needs them later, the caring parent must, in principle, pay these costs.

When do I no longer have to pay child support?

You no longer have to pay alimony if your child is 21 years old or can provide for his or her own maintenance. At that point, you no longer have an obligation to pay alimony. It is wise not to just stop paying. Discuss this with your child first.

How long am I required to pay child support?

You no longer have an obligation to pay alimony when your child has reached the age of 21 or is able to provide for his or her own living independently. The exact duration of the obligation therefore depends on when the alimony started and when your child is 21 or financially independent.

At what age does child support end?

Child support ends when your child turns 21 or when he or she is 18 or older and can provide for his or her own living independently. If your child has a disability or is unable to provide for his or her own living for another reason, the alimony obligation can continue even longer.

Is child support counted as income?

Child support is the amount you receive from your ex-partner to pay for the care and upbringing of your child(ren). Child support is not income and therefore does not have to be declared on a tax return.

Is child support deductible?

For the parent liable for maintenance, child support is not tax deductible.