Understanding the Principle of Child Support Payments in France

Alimony is an obligation of every parent to provide for their children. Depending on the divorce procedure undertaken by the spouses, it is possible to reach an amicable agreement or refer to a court decision.

How Is the Amount of the Alimony Fixed?

Divorce by mutual consent is a procedure in which the two spouses agree to a settlement. In the presence of their respective lawyers, the two parties deal with issues of division, whether of property or custody of the children. The amount of support will also be determined at this time.

If this is not the case, they can go before a family court judge, whose role will be to decide on the amount of support and possibly the custody of the children.

Knowing that its role is to provide for a child’s current needs, this support includes food, school fees, transportation, recreation, clothing, and medical care outside of insurance coverage. Generally, the amount is based on the debtor’s resources (the one who pays the pension to the parent in charge of the children), taking into account his personal expenses. However, there are simulators available to help you estimate the amount you are owed.

How Does the Payment of Alimony Work?

The alimony payment takes effect as soon as the judge pronounces the divorce and is paid monthly. In most cases, it is made by bank transfer to the creditor’s account (the parent who has custody of the child). However, the creditor may decide to pay for certain expenses, such as school fees.

The payment stops when the child can support themselves, i.e. when the child is no longer in the parent’s care. This may be before or after the child reaches the age of majority.

Is It Possible to Ask for an Increase in Support?

A review of the amount of support is usually scheduled every year. In fact, the judge’s decision also includes the terms for re-evaluating the amount of support.

However, a few cases may lead to a modification of the amount paid at any time:

– A change in resources, either for the debtor or the creditor. If the creditor is requesting an increase, it will be necessary to justify the insufficiency of the current amount. Conversely, if the debtor becomes unemployed, they can request to cancel the payment. The loss of a job or a salary increase are grounds for requesting a revision of the amount of alimony.

– remarriage, which implies that the judge must take into account the budget needed for the household

– changes in the child’s needs. This may include expensive treatment or increased school fees, especially at university.

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What if the Debtor Refuses to Pay Support?

If no support payments are made, a formal notice can be requested to remind the debtor of his obligations. If this approach is unsuccessful, another solution is to call upon a bailiff to seize the money. However, there is also a procedure known as a direct payment. Thanks to your bailiff, you will be able to request payment from a third party, such as your debtor’s bank. This means that the amount of the alimony will be directly deducted from his balance.

Please note that the non-payment of alimony is punishable by a 2-year imprisonment, or a fine of 15000 €.

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