Court-ordered support or alimony is stipulatedby the Family Law. There are different types of alimony. Family Law differentiates the following support:
1. Spouse support
2. Common-law spousesupport
3. Support of the child’s mother
4. Child support (minor or adult)
5. Parent support
6. Blood relative support(siblings, adopted siblings, in-laws)
In this text, we will focus on child support. According to the law, parents must participate in raising their child whether they are married or not. That is why the question of child support, ie. alimony is one of the key questions in the divorce process.
Child support is the amount that a noncustodial parent must pay for his/her child to cover expenses of food, clothing, education, extracurricular activities, and similar.
Who is anobligee and who is an obligant?
Parents are obligants, they must support their child, according to the Family Law. On the other hand, the child is an obligeei.e. the person who is receiving the support.
Even though the monthly payments are deposited to the custodial parent’s account, the child is the obligee, not the custodial parent. Since it is bound to an individual, it cannot be transferred to another person. Alimony cannot be inherited, either. However, previously unpaid payments can be inherited.
Child support is imperative. This means that parents are legally bound to support and raise their child and it cannot be revoked.On the other hand, the child cannot revoke the right to support – it does not bear any legal effect. For instance, if the father is the one paying the support,he must continue with payments until legal conditions are met for its ending and the child cannot revoke his rights.
Both minor and the child of legal age have the same right to support. The minor child enjoys this right due to the fact he/she is a minor. The child of legal age has the right to child support if he/she is incapable of work and does not have enough financial means to support himself/herself or if he/she regularly attends school. This support stops at the age of 26.
There are situations when parents do not have enough financial means to support their child or are deceased. In these cases, the Family Law stipulates that grandparents can pay for support how much they can. Any blood relative or a person who paid support without the legal obligation has the right to refund all supports from the non-custodial parent and therefore ask for all payments made.
The parents must always support and raise their minor child, logically, since minors cannot earn for themselves. On the other hand, parents do not have the same obligation towards the child of legal age, if the support is unjust.
Example: We can easily imagine a situation where the child of legal age is employed and his/her parents are unemployed or have a lower wage than the child. In that case, it is unjust to ask the parents to support their child. The same applies to all blood relatives who are supporting a child.
Child support amount?
The amount of child support depends on many factors that can be divided into two groups – the needs of the obligee and the income of the obligant. The amount depends on the child’s needs and the parent’s income. It means that the amount of child support varies from case to case. It is always monetary. However, the support can be defined differently but it must be first settled between the child, i.e. the other parent – legal representative and the non-custodial parent.
The amount of the child support must provide the life standard of the non-custodial parent.
If it is determined as a percentage of regular monthly income, the amount must not be lower than 15%nor higher than 50% of the net monthly income of the non-custodial parent.
The alimony can be determined as a fixed amount instead of a percentage, which is the most common practice.
Child’s needs as a determining factorof the support amount
First and foremost, key factors are child’s age and health condition. If a child has a chronic condition or needs to have regular therapies, the amount of support will be higher than compared to a healthy child.
Then the education stage is a relevant point. You need more money to fund high school education than elementary or kindergarten and bachelor’s and master’s studies are more expensive than high school education.When deciding on the support, sports and arts must be taken into consideration so the additional expenses are covered, such as traveling to games, purchasing sports equipment, instruments, paying for classes, etc.
It is also important if a child already owns a property or has additional income. It is possible that the child is working part-time or has inherited some property. In that case, the need for supporting that child is, relatively speaking, less thanthat of the child without property or income. We say „relatively speaking“ because a child can study abroad, so his/her needs are financiallybigger since this type of education is more expensive.
The income of the parent as a determining factor
The ability to support the child depends on the parent’s income and properties owned. Besides the monthly paycheck, the income can be a pension,honorarium, or similar. It must occur on monthly basis. When it comes to income, one must take into consideration the parent’s line of work. If the parent is a lawyer with long-term experience, it is reasonable to anticipate that the parent has a bigger income than the lawyer’s apprentice. The same applies to artisans and generally all jobs where paycheck increases parallelly with experience.
The important factor is how high is the possibility of the employment of the parent. For instance, the parent is not employed, but his health condition, education, and age indicate the parent could easily find employment. For instance, a father cannot pay for child support because he is not employed, but he does not want to find a job. His argument is not as plausible as the argument of the father who can work only on specific jobs due to health issues.
The personal needs of the parent are also important. They can be health issues, such as treatment expenses, therapies, and similar. For instance, if the parent is a doctor who often needs specialization in the field, literature, and similar, all those expenses are a part of personal needs.
It is also relevant if the non-custodial parent is financially supporting other persons, i.e. parents. If there is more than one obligee, the child has priority over the other persons.
Change of the amount of the support
If circumstances change, both obligant and obligee can ask for the change of the amount of the support. If the non-custodial parent got a promotion and earns more than before, the child can ask for support raise. On the other hand, if the non-custodial parent has lost the job or his health condition got worsened he can ask for a reduction. The one applies for the changeexclusively by filing a lawsuit.
When does child support stop?
If a child of the legal age can provide enough means for self-support, the parent does not need to pay the support. The child support stops if the non-custodial parent cannot continue paying the support or it becomes unjust. All this is applicable only if a child is of legal age.
If obligant or obligee decease, the child support stops.
The price of the legal advice and representation in the child support cases you can find on our webpage in the section lawyer’s tariff.