Legislation until 1 January 2020

According to the law, the partner support obligation before 1 January 2020 was a maximum of 12 years after the divorce. In a childless marriage of less than five years, the duration of support was equal to the duration of the marriage.

From 1 January 2020

On 1 January 2020, a new law came into force which has shortened the duration of partner support in many cases.

From 1 January 2020, the maximum support period has been reduced from 12 years to half the duration of the marriage with a maximum of five years. However, there are several exceptions to the new support scheme, depending on the age of the children, the age of the beneficiary and/or the length of the marriage:

  1. If there are minor children, the term is extended until the youngest child turns 12, with a maximum of 12 years.
  2. If the marriage lasted at least 15 years and the person entitled to support will reach state pension age within 10 years, the period is extended until the state pension age has been reached.
  3. If the marriage lasted at least 15 years, if the person entitled to support will reach state pension age in more than 10 years, and if the person entitled to support was born on or before 1 January 1970, then a maximum duration of support of 10 years applies.

If there is a concurrence of several exceptions, the longer term applies.


When calculating partner support, the needs of both partners are first taken into account. This need is measured by the income you had during the marriage.

Furthermore, when calculating the partner support, the financial capacity of you and your partner is of course taken into account, i.e. both your incomes and various expenses, such as housing costs, health insurance premiums and costs of interest and repayment of debts.

The calculation of partner support is specialised work. It requires knowledge of the law and case law, so it is always advisable to enlist the help of a specialist.


If you pay or receive support, this may have to be changed at a later time due to changed circumstances. One party may have started to earn more or the other less, or other circumstances may have changed so that the previously determined support is no longer reasonable. Then you can change the support in mutual consultation, or you can present the change to the court.

A drop in income? Always consult your ex-partner about partner support first.

If you are faced with a drop in income, can you stop paying partner support or is it permissible to temporarily pay a lesser amount?

We advise you to consult with your ex-partner first and not just to stop paying. For example, you can reach agreements together about:

  • suspending the partner support obligation;
  • a payment arrangement for overdue partner support;
  • a temporary or permanent reduction in partner support, or
  • a temporary or permanent nullification of partner support.

If you agree on a solution together, you can record these agreements in writing.


If consultation does not lead to the desired solution, you can submit a request to the court for a reduction/nullification of the partner support. You can indicate to the court that you are dealing with a drop in income and that your financial circumstances have deteriorated to such an extent that a reduction/nullification of partner support is necessary.


Our divorce lawyers have the specialised financial and tax knowledge that is indispensable for sound advice in your situation, especially if a company is involved.

We are also happy to assist you if the support payment needs to be changed – initially in consultation with your former partner and, if necessary, also in legal proceedings.

We keep a close eye on any changes in the field of support law. Thanks to our many years of experience, we are very capable of answering your questions in this area and making the right calculations.

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