Although the most common form of maintenance in Serbian family law is the maintenance of a child, the maintenance of parents by children is equally important.
The concept of legal maintenance refers to the obligation of a person to provide the necessary financial support to a certain family member.
What are the basic conditions that the child is obliged to support its parents?
For an adult child to be legally obligated to financially support their parents, two conditions must be met:
- that the parent is unable to work;
- that the parent does not have enough means to support himself.
Inability to work is proven in practice by an appropriate decision on the issue of work ability, or by age, while the fact of lack of means of support is proven by available evidence that indicates a lack of financial means in relation to the average needs.
Therefore, it is necessary that both conditions exist at the same time.
How is the parent’s need for maintenance determined?
The need for maintenance occurs when a parent does not have enough of his own financial resources to meet his existential needs, which depend on his age, health, education, property, income, and other circumstances.
There are situations in which a parent suffers from serious health problems, disabilities, or other physical limitations and in such cases these circumstances are also considered when determining support needs.
What is important is that when assessing the maintenance needs, the ability of the maintenance provider to provide financial support based on his economic capabilities is considered, and therefore providing maintenance to a parent must not jeopardize the basic needs of the maintenance creditor or his family members (for example minor children).
From whom is the parent entitled to support?
A parent has the right to support from his adult child, but also from another blood relative in the direct line of descent (grandchild, great-grandchild…) or from a minor child who earns income or has income.
How to obtain the right for maintenance?
Adult children are obliged by law to support their parents if they need financial support and if they can provide support. So, these are all those situations when, due to old age, illness, low income and similar reasons, the parent cannot support himself. In such situations, it is natural for a child to take care of its parent.
However, in practice, there are often situations in which children (we still mean adult children) do not pay attention to their parents. If the voluntary support of the parents does not occur, the parent has the option to initiate proceedings to determine this obligation to his child.
Therefore, the obligation of legal maintenance can be realized in two ways:
- By agreement (agreement) – as we mentioned, this is the first and most desirable solution.
- Court judgment – in cases where there is no agreement or the child does not fulfill his obligation, the parent or other relative like the maintenance creditor must initiate court proceedings. In those situations, the court will issue a judgment establishing the maintenance obligation and determining the amount and method of payment or rejecting such a request.
How is the maintenance amount calculated and how is it paid?
The court decides on the amount of maintenance, which as a rule is determined in a monetary amount, but it can be determined in another way, but only if the parent and the child agree on it.
A parent can request that the payment be made in monthly installments, and this can be determined in a fixed monthly monetary amount (which is more common) or as a percentage of the regular monthly income of the maintenance debtor (which is less common).
However, if the maintenance amount is determined as a percentage of the debtor’s regular monthly income (salary, compensation, pension, royalties, etc.), the maintenance amount, as a rule, cannot be less than 15% or more than 50% of the regular monthly income.
It is important to know that, due to a change in circumstances, the amount of maintenance can be increased or decreased. You can roughly find out about the increase or decrease of alimony in this text.
When would a parent not be entitled to financial support?
In a situation where the approval of a request for maintenance would represent an obvious injustice for the child, the parent would not have the right to maintenance. This is a situation where the maintenance debtor would jeopardize his basic needs or the basic needs of his children.
When does the maintenance of parent’s end?
1. When the maintenance period expires
2. By canceling the maintenance obligation by a court decision due to changed circumstances
3. By the death of the parent
4. Death of the child.