plen+48 535 250 484
Pn- Pt 08:00-17:00
Bezpłatna wycena

How to obtain alimony in Poland?

How to obtain alimony in Poland

Experienced Lawyer from Poland Who has Handled Numerous Court Proceedings Shares Their Knowledge on Obtaining Alimony.

Alimony is one of the most important institutions in family law and very often becomes the subject of court proceedings. At the same time, it is an issue that often evokes mixed feelings in many people. Are there really valid reasons for it? What are alimony and who do they concern?

What are Alimony?

Alimony is an obligation arising from legal provisions for one person to provide financial support to another person or a group of individuals who are unable to meet their basic needs independently. It usually pertains to parents in relation to their minor children, but it can also apply to other family members or former spouses. Alimony aims to ensure adequate living conditions for the entitled person and provide for their basic needs, such as food, housing, clothing, healthcare, and education.

When Does the Obligation for Alimony Arise?

The obligation for alimony arises by operation of law when the appropriate conditions are met. The most common situation is the obligation of parents to their children. This obligation arises at the birth of the child and exists as long as the child is unable to support themselves. This means that the obligation can continue even after the child reaches the age of eighteen. In other cases, for the obligation to arise, the entitled person must be in a state of need, and the obligated person must be able to bear the burden of alimony without excessive detriment to their own necessary maintenance and the persons they support.

Who is Covered by Alimony in Poland?

The obligation for alimony can only arise between individuals connected by one of three legally recognized types of relationships, including:

  1. Blood relationship
  2. Affinity
  3. Marriage

Each of these relationships potentially entails both the obligated and entitled parties to receive alimony. This means, for example, that not only parents can be obligated to provide alimony to their children, but in certain situations, children may be obligated to provide alimony to their parents.

Alimony from Parents to Children

The most common scenario for the existence of an alimony obligation is that of parents towards their minor children. This obligation is unique as it arises automatically and does not require a state of need for its establishment. After a child reaches the age of majority, the alimony obligation continues as long as the child cannot support themselves, unless the child’s assets are sufficient to cover their maintenance and upbringing costs. Parents can also be exempt from providing alimony to an adult child if it would cause them undue hardship or if the child is not making efforts to become self-supporting.

The alimony obligation can also be reinstated if a previously self-supporting child falls into a state of need again.

Alimony from Children to Parents

However, the alimony obligation can also arise between other individuals. Particularly, there can be a reverse alimony obligation, where the obligated parties are the children and the entitled parties are the parents. This situation can occur when parents are in a state of need and are unable to support themselves, while their adult children have the means to provide alimony without compromising their own necessary support.

In situations where parents have multiple children, all of them are jointly responsible for providing alimony to their parents in a manner proportional to each child’s financial capacity. This means that if one child is unable to fulfill their alimony obligation, the remaining children bear the full burden.

Alimony Between Other Family Members

Parents and their children, being ascendants and descendants of the first degree, are primarily obligated to each other in terms of alimony. However, if these individuals are unable to fulfill the alimony obligation, it may extend to other relatives in the direct line, such as grandparents towards grandchildren, and vice versa. In further progression, even siblings might be obligated to provide alimony.

The principles governing alimony obligations between more distant family members are analogous to those concerning child-to-parent alimony.

Alimony Between Affines (In-Laws)

The alimony obligation can exist not only between blood relatives but also between affines. This particularly applies to step-parents on one side and step-children on the other.

For an alimony obligation to arise between affines, there must either be no relatives obligated to provide alimony, or the obligated individuals must be unable to fulfill their obligation. Furthermore, to establish such an obligation, step-parents must have contributed to the upbringing and support of their step-children in the past.

Alimony Between Spouses

An alimony obligation also exists between spouses and, in certain situations, can continue even after the marriage has been dissolved. Marriage under Polish law establishes strong ties, including financial ones, between spouses. During the marriage, both spouses are obliged to contribute to the needs of the family according to their abilities and financial means. This obligation also applies to marriages where there is a separation of property between the spouses.

The continuation of the alimony obligation can also occur after the dissolution of the marriage. A spouse who is not at fault for the breakdown of the marriage has the right to demand alimony from the other spouse for a period of 5 years from the end of the marriage, provided they are in a state of need during this time. In exceptional circumstances, this period can be extended. This means that an obligated spouse for alimony can include not only the spouse at fault for the divorce but also spouses in cases of divorce without a finding of fault.

Character of the Alimony Obligation

Although alimony is commonly associated with financial payments, it can also take other forms, such as providing housing or sustenance. The fulfillment of alimony in this manner typically concerns parents and their children.

In the case of court-decided alimony, the awarded alimony in the court’s decision is often expressed as monetary sums transferred directly to the entitled person or a person who has custody of the entitled person.

Alimony Amount in Poland

The exact amount of alimony is not precisely defined and depends on various factors in practice.

In the case of alimony from parents to children and between spouses, there is the principle of equal living standards. This means that the obligated party should contribute to alimony in a manner that provides the entitled party with the same level and quality of life they themselves possess.

In court proceedings, when determining the amount of alimony, the court takes into account:

  1. Justified needs of the child.
  2. Earning and financial capabilities of the parent.
  3. The notion that parents contribute equally to the child’s upkeep, unless one of the parties has significant obstacles.

In cases of alimony obligations between more distant relatives or in-laws, the alimony amount should help lift the recipient from a state of need while also not burdening the obligated person excessively. It should not hinder the justified needs of the obligated person and those dependent on them.

Evading Alimony Payments

The alimony obligation is a legal institution that arises from the law itself. This means that to effectively evade the costs of this obligation, one must challenge the existence of the conditions leading to the obligation’s formation.

In the case of alimony obligations from parents to children, since the obligation arises from the mere fact of childbirth and the parent-child relationship, one effective way to evade alimony is to contest the parenthood of the child. For obvious reasons, this possibility primarily applies to fathers.

In cases of alimony obligations between other obligated and entitled parties, the obligated party must prove that they do not have the relationships that would warrant an alimony obligation, that there are other parties obligated to alimony before them, or that fulfilling the obligation would cause significant detriment to their own legitimate needs and those they support.

Evasion of alimony obligations within a marriage is not possible.

Legal Proceedings in Poland Regarding Alimony

The alimony obligation arises by operation of law, and its amount and mode of fulfillment are not regulated. Therefore, alimony payments are determined by courts only when a dispute arises over the existence or amount of the obligation.

Proceedings regarding alimony are resolved through legal procedures and can be conducted as independent proceedings or as part of divorce proceedings. Within divorce proceedings, the court can rule not only on the obligation for alimony between former spouses and its amount but also settle the issue of alimony concerning children.

To initiate a lawsuit to establish the alimony obligation and its amount in court is free of court fees. The lawsuit should be filed with the competent Family Court based on the place of residence of the entitled person. In divorce proceedings, alimony matters are decided by the competent Regional Court.

Alimony Enforcement in Poland

Alimony, like any financial or property obligation, can be enforced through execution. To initiate the execution of overdue alimony payments from the obligated person, the entitled person must have an enforcement title with an enforcement clause. Such a title can primarily be a court judgment, but it can also be a court settlement or another agreement with the obligated person containing the enforcement clause.

Based on this document, the entitled person can apply to the court bailiff, who will take the necessary actions to forcibly obtain funds from the obligated person for alimony.

Criminal Liability for Failure to Pay Alimony in Poland

Non-payment of alimony constitutes a crime under Polish law, punishable by a fine, restriction of liberty, or even imprisonment for up to one year. This offense also has an aggravated form in cases where the failure to pay alimony results in the entitled person’s inability to satisfy their basic life needs, in which case the penalty increases to up to two years of imprisonment.

For the obligated party to face criminal liability for non-payment of alimony, the alimony obligation must have been previously determined in terms of amount by a court judgment, court settlement, or other agreement, and there must be a delay in payment exceeding three months or the equivalent of at least 3 periodic payments.

The crime of non-payment of alimony is prosecuted upon private charges at the request of the aggrieved party, a social assistance body, or an authority taking action against the alimony debtor.

Alimony Fund in Poland

Unfortunately, non-payment of alimony by obligated individuals is a common issue in Poland, and the collection of overdue alimony can be relatively low. In such cases, the alimony fund can provide assistance to entitled persons by securing funds for their alimony.

Alimony payments from the alimony fund amount to the currently established alimony amount, with the total not exceeding 500 PLN per month. The entitlement to alimony fund payments is subject to a income criteria of 725 PLN/month per person in the family. Only individuals entitled to alimony from their parents based on an enforceable title issued or approved by the court are entitled to payments from the alimony fund, provided that execution has proven unsuccessful. The alimony fund can provide payments only until the entitled person reaches 18 years of age or, if they continue their education, until 25 years of age.

How to Obtain Alimony in Poland – Summary

The alimony obligation is a provision granting financial support to entitled persons from obligated individuals based on relationships of blood, affinity, or marriage. Disputes over alimony can be complex and contentious. Therefore, the assistance of a professional lawyer, whether an advocate or legal counsel, can be invaluable in navigating these issues.

Related Posts

Ostatnie Artykuły