Do I owe child maintenance?
After the divorce the child will be living with one of the parents. The other parent, who doesn't have custody of the child, is legally obliged to pay a contribution towards the upbringing and education of the child to the parent taking care of the child. Child maintenance is mandatory until the child turns 18 years of age. This period is prolonged till an age of 21 if the child is still studying or can't take care of himself financially.
What amount of child maintenance a parent is actually able to pay is determined on the basis of his/her income.
How is child maintenance determined?
There are two ways in which child maintenance is determined. The first is that both parents agree upon an amount and then include this in the divorce agreement. This constitutes a binding agreement and can, if necessary, be enforced in court should any default occur.
If the parents can't agree upon an amount, the courts will determine a reasonable maintenance obligation based on the need of the child and the financial capability of the obligated party. The need of the child is determined based on the age of the child, the amount of children in the family in combination with the net family income. In standard situations this is decided upon according to certain standard guidelines. The costs of the children are to be paid pro rata to the financial capability of both parents.
If the parents have a joint custody agreement whereby the children spend roughly half their time with both parents, separate financial arrangements can be made to split the costs of living between both parents rather than setting a fixed amount of child maintenance. These arrangements must be included in a divorce agreement or a written parenting plan.
Are the child maintenance payments deductible?
The payments can indeed be deductible if certain conditions are met.