Minimum amount of alimony

Alimony refers to regular, obligatory payments, usually to family members, consisting of the provision of means of subsistence and, where necessary, means of upbringing. One of the situations in which the obligation to provide alimony arises is the breakdown of a marriage. In that case, the other parent is obliged to contribute to the costs of raising and maintaining the child. The amount of alimony is not strictly determined by any provisions and in each case depends on an individual decision of the court. What is the court guided by when setting the amount of alimony?

Alimony obligation

Let us start by saying that, unlike in other situations (e.g. alimony ordered in favor of a former spouse), in the case of child support parents cannot evade their alimony obligation on the grounds that fulfillment of that obligation would constitute an excessive burden on them. According to information available on the Ombudsman’s website, parents are obliged to share even the smallest income with their child, and in special cases – where the situation so requires – they are even obliged to dispose of their assets to meet their obligation, for example to save the child’s health.

The extent to which parents are obliged to share income with the child is determined by the court. For this purpose, the court will gather information about the legitimate needs of the child and the financial capacity of the parent. Importantly, in the court’s view, both parents should contribute equally to the maintenance of the child. Therefore, when the court estimates the average amount necessary to satisfy the needs of the minor, it divides it in half. Always a slightly larger part of that sum falls on the person paying alimony. This results from the fact that the care of a minor child is also treated as a maintenance cost.

Alimony from a non-working parent

In determining the amount of alimony, the court takes into account the financial capacity of the parent. At this point it is worth mentioning that the non-working parent is also subject to alimony obligation. In such cases, the court takes into account not so much the parent’s income as their occupation and what income they can obtain by taking up employment.

The amount of alimony ordered is also affected by the parents’ financial obligations (e.g. mortgage) or the parent’s commitment to raising the child. As a result, each case is different and the court takes an individual approach to each case. It is always guided by the good of the child.

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Kamil Jurczewski
Martyna B. Szczygielska
Prof. Marcin Jurgilewicz, Ph.D.
Wojciech Kępka-Mariański
Magdalena Nowosadzka