Partners who jointly have one or more children will have to reach agreements about the division of the costs of the children when they split up, for example in the form of child maintenance. These agreements must be recorded in a parenting plan.
The need of the child
In order to be able to reach agreements about the division of the costs of the children or about the level of the child maintenance, an assessment must first be made of the costs which are usually incurred for the children. The NIBUD (National Institute for Family Finance Information) has conducted research into this for years. This has resulted in the formulation of the NIBUD standards. These standards offer certainty during the reaching of agreements about the extent of the costs of the children.
The higher the family income is (has been), the higher the expenditure is which must be made for the benefit of the child. The amount which is deduced from the NIBUD tables is called the need. The need of a child which fits a specified family income is the amount which, in principle, must always be spent on a child after a separation. The underlying idea is that the child should not be worse off after and because of the divorce or separation of its parents. However, whether the financial means are present for this after a divorce or separation will have to be seen.
Capacity of the parents
Once the need of the child is determined, it must be determined to which extent each of the parents is able to contribute to the costs of the children, therefore to their need. A guideline has been drawn up for this, which is taken as a guiding principle. This guideline is also called the TREMA (Journal for the Judiciary) standards. Currently there is also a table which has been developed in order to answer the question as to which capacity forms part of a specified net disposable income of each of the parents. However, if this were to result in unacceptable expenditure, the court can be applied to so as to take special expenditure, such as the repayment of debts which arose during the relationship, into consideration.
When the costs and capacity are recorded, a calculation can be made of what each parent must contribute to the costs of the children. The general rule is that the parent with whom the child has its principal residence (the caring parent) receives a contribution from the other parent (the not-caring parent), to also pay for the costs of the child. The not-caring parent can receive a reduction for care for the days that the child does stay with him/her. The more days the child stays with the not-caring parent, the higher the reduction is which can be applied to the contribution.
Derogating agreements: a child account
Sometimes parents chose to reach other agreements, such as higher or lower child maintenance. This can also be done by agreeing that the not-caring parent pays specified costs directly to the child, such as sport or school costs. Sometimes after a separation parents chose for child maintenance in the form of a child account. Each of them then transfers an amount agreed in advance to a special bank account. Agreement is also reached about what expenditure for the child will be paid from this account. Such derogating agreements can only be reached in mutual consultation; this can therefore not be enforced through the court.
The family law specialists of Asselbergs & Klinkhamer Advocaten can assist you when it concerns child maintenance about the appropriate arrangement for your specific situation. If it is not possible to reach agreements in mutual consultation about the costs of the children, and the level of child maintenance, the court can be applied to in order to make a decision.