Calculate alimony with BigMac index

If ex-partners do not live in the same country, the costs of maintaining a certain standard of living may not be equal. In such a case, judges can calculate alimony using the BigMac index.

BigMac index

How does that work? Mc Donalds manufactures and sells the Big Mac all over the world. It also consists of almost the same ingredients everywhere. However, the price differs per country. Judges can make good use of this when calculating alimony in international cases. By looking at the price of a BigMac per country, you can see what the difference is. For example, a BigMac costs $1.76 in Venezuela and $6.71 in Switzerland. To eat the same sandwich (or to maintain the same standard of living) you need about 1/4 of the money in Venezuela than you have to spend in Switzerland.


The court of Arnhem-Leeuwardenapplied the BigMac index on August 23, 2022 when calculating partner alimony. In this case, the applicant (hereinafter: the woman) lives in Hungary and the defendant (hereinafter: the man) in the Netherlands. According to the court, the woman has insufficiently explained or substantiated the financial circumstances in Hungary she has alleged. The man argues that life in Hungary is cheaper. He believes that the Dutch standards should not be used when calculating the need. The Court considers it plausible that the price level in Hungary is lower than in the Netherlands. For the translation of the amount that the woman would need in the Netherlands to maintain the same standard of living, to the amount she needs in Hungary, the court uses the Big Mac index. In 2020, the BigMac cost €2.87 in Hungary and €4.80 in the Netherlands. This means, according to the court, that the purchasing power of women in Hungary is 1.67 higher.


If you have any questions regarding the calculation of alimony, please do not hesitate to contact us.