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Netherlands: Collection of Post-Divorce Maintenance Payments Enhanced

(Aug. 7, 2009) A new regulation that entered into force on August 1, 2009, aims to ensure the implementation or resumption of payment of partner maintenance, voluntary or not, after a divorce or separation or the dissolution of a registered partnership in the Netherlands. While voluntary payment remains the general principle, it is now possible for the entitled recipient to engage the services of the National Agency for the Collection of Maintenance Payments (Landelijk Bureau Inning Onderhoudsbijdragen, LBIO) should a former partner obligated to pay the support fail to do so. LBIO services have already been available and proved an effective means for the collection of child maintenance. (Press Release, Ministry of Justice of The Netherlands, From 1 August 2009 Onwards, the LBIO Will Also Collect Partner Maintenance (July 27, 2009), available at

The expansion of the LBIO's function is viewed as giving citizens “a low-threshold and free facility for the collection of partner and child maintenance,” furthering the uniform settlement of collection requests. “The partner entitled to maintenance is, however, not obliged to engage the LBIO; in case of non-payment, he or she may also engage a bailiff, for instance, to attach the ex-partner's wages.” (Id.)

By promoting performance of the maintenance payment obligation, the regulation may help reduce reliance by the entitled partner on social assistance benefits. It will also, if the maintenance amount has been determined by a court decision, free municipalities from having to recover the benefits from the obliged providers of the maintenance, because the court may refer such persons to the LBIO. (Id.)