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Alimony is also paid in August! – opinion article by Nuno Cardoso-Ribeiro at Público

Opinion article by our coordinator, Nuno Cardoso-Ribeiro, in the Público newspaper of 10/08/2020 regarding the payment of alimony in the month of August. Read the article on Público’s website or the translation and pdf below:

“Alimony is also paid in August!

Family lawyers are asked this question every year, and the answer is invariably the same: yes, alimony is also due in August, even if during this period the child lives mostly or exclusively with the person who is obliged to pay the alimony.

 August is the month when, traditionally, many separated or divorced mothers and fathers spend their vacations with their children. And this is also the case when the children reside mostly with the other parent during the rest of the year.

 In situations where the children live most of the time with one parent and live less with the other parent, the latter is, as a rule, obliged to pay child support.

 Alimony is intended to meet all the children’s needs and, despite its name, it is not intended to cover only the children’s food needs, but rather to meet all expenses necessary for their well-being and harmonious growth (housing, food, transportation, education, recreational and sports activities, etc.).

 Alimony is usually set in monthly installments that are paid to the parent who has the child in their care. Often this fixed amount is increased by a contribution to educational and health expenses. This contribution may be half, but it does not have to be half: the child’s expenses should be borne by the parents according to each one’s means, so a parent who is in a better financial situation should, in principle, contribute more to the child’s expenses.

 In August, however, the roles are reversed, and the parent who usually only has the child with him or her on weekends at intervals will have the child for two or three weeks, or even for the whole month.

 In such cases, one wonders whether this parent is obliged to pay the pension for August if, after all, during this month, or a significant part of it, the child’s expenses are borne directly by him or her?

 This question is put to family lawyers every year, and the answer is invariably the same: yes, alimony is due in August as well, even if during this period the child lives mostly or exclusively with the person who is obliged to pay it.

 Whether it is fixed by parental agreement following separation or divorce, or stipulated by judgment of the family and child court, alimony is due twelve times a year, and therefore also in those months when the child is mostly in the care of the payer. This will only not be the case if the agreement or court decision provides for another frequency.

 In fact, alimony should take into account the expenses that the parent who usually resides with the child or youngster bears throughout the year in order to provide the child with the same standard of living as his parents. Think, for example, of housing, school, Internet and TV expenses.

 On the other hand, when the court is determining the amount of child support, it already takes into account, at least in theory, the periods of time the child is with each parent.

 Enjoy your vacation with your child, but don’t forget to pay the alimony!

 Whether it is fixed by parental agreement following separation or divorce, or stipulated by judgment of the family and child court, alimony is due twelve times a year, and therefore also in those months when the child is mostly in the care of the payer. This will only not be the case if the agreement or court decision provides for another frequency.”

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