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Should a provision for extraordinary expenses be included in mediation agreements? A proposal of La Ligue des familles



A very detailed study by the Ligue des familles* on the settlement of extraordinary expenses for children between separated parents proposes a monthly provisional allowance for these expenses. The aim is to enable parents, mediators and other professionals to include in agreements a provision for some of these extraordinary expenses.


In Belgium, ordinary expenses are the usual costs relating to the day-to-day upkeep of the child. These expenses are taken into account if there is a difference in income between the parents and/or unequal residence time. Ordinary expenses may be: accommodation and related charges, food, travel expenses, cleaning products, toiletries, certain items of clothing, books, games and toys, holidays, etc. They are calculated on the basis of the child's usual maintenance budget and are covered, where applicable, by the maintenance contribution (contribution alimentaire in French).


Extraordinary expenses are exceptional, necessary or unforeseeable costs resulting from accidental or unusual circumstances. These expenses exceed the child's usual maintenance budget. A list of these expenses is set out in the Royal Decree of 22 April 2019 fixing the extraordinary expenses resulting from Article 203, §1 of the former Civil Code. These include medical and paramedical expenses, education-related costs, costs associated with the child's personal development, and any other expenses that the parents designate as extraordinary.


In mediation agreements, parents determine the share of extraordinary expenses each will cover, typically either splitting them equally or in proportion to their respective incomes. Except in emergencies, both parents must agree to incur such costs, and the procedures for settling them must be clearly outlined in the mediation agreement to prevent misunderstandings. The recent proposal of the Ligue des familles would simplify this process. Certain extraordinary expenses (as outlined in the image) could be provisioned in mediation agreements, simplifying the process of settling these costs on a quarterly basis. The parent responsible for a larger share of financing extraordinary expenses would then provide an upfront fixed amount to cover anticipated costs for the child. Parents then review quarterly to determine if the monthly provision is adequate or excessive. La Ligue des familles believes that this estimate of certain extraordinary expenses will ensures that the mental and administrative burden is better shared between the two parents in the interest of their child.


*La Ligue des familles is an association that supports parents in the French-speaking region of Belgium.

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