Child support – when, how much and from whom?

23/10/2015 | Blog, Child Support

Alimony in Polish legal system is defined as an obligation to provide maintenance,  and if necessary, the educational assistance. Obliged to provide alimony are relatives in direct line and siblings. Given the very broad range of possible maintenance, as well as the limitations of this study, this article will focus only on when a minor child is entitled to child support from his or her parents.

Conditions of alimony ruling

Very often the time range of the maintenance obligation is identified with a child reaching the age of majority, graduating, or for unknown reasons the age of 26 years old. Nothing could be further from the truth. Family and Guardianship Code stipulates that parents are obliged to provide maintenance in relation to a child who is not yet able to support themselves (unless revenue from the child’s property is sufficient to cover the cost of his or hers maintenance and education). As a rule, this obligation can not be waived unless the parent proves that the maintenance obligation towards the adult child is linked to the excessive detriment to him/her, or if the child does not endeavor to obtain possible support on his/her own.

Although in the court proceedings on this matter the on the opposite sides there are usually spouses or ex-partners, the proceedings are of a purely accounting nature. The plaintiff in this proceeding is a minor child, which is usually superseded by the other parent.

The amount of child support

The scope of the statutory duty of maintenance depends on one hand on the justified needs of the child, and on the other on the obliged person’s earning capacity.

By the justified needs we understand not only the elementary obigation to provide the minimum subsistence level, but the creation of the normal living conditions to the child corresponding to their age, health and other circumstances of the particular case, if the child cannot provide for itself. Earning capacity is defined as the financial status of the obliged that is, likely to obtain by the obliged with due diligence using their knowledge and skills as well as their assets. So it should not be confused with actually achieved remuneration. Satisfying the needs of children by parents should – if necessary – take place even at the expense of the substance of their property.

Please note that the obligation to pay maintenance can be carried out not only in cash but also in nature, in particular through personal efforts for the upbringing of the child (for physical and mental development of the child, which is associated with the amount of personal work).

The principle of equal living standards

The Supreme Court in the guidelines of 1987 found that children are entitled to an equal standard of living with their parents, regardless of whether they live with them or separately. This principle does not mean the automatic division of income earned by their parents, because its essence comes down to meeting the justified needs of the child, taking into account their age, health, education, and other individual circumstances.