Maintenance allowance

A child has the right to receive financial support from both parents. A parent is released from the obligation to provide maintenance for a child only under exceptional circumstances.

If a parent does not participate in the raising of the child and does not provide financial support either, the child has the right to receive monthly financial support – alimony – by court decision in the amount of at least half the minimum monthly wage established by the Government of the Republic.

Besides minor children, adult children may also receive alimony, but not more than until he or she attains 21 years of age. They are eligible to receive alimony if they are studying in basic school, upper secondary school or a vocational educational institution, are incapacitated for work or are in a child care institution. A parent entered on a child’s birth certificate can be ordered to pay alimony.

If the parents have not already reached agreement with regard to financial support, court action should be filed.

A statement of claim can be submitted electronically at www.e-toimik.ee, where you can also submit an application for expedited procedure in a matter of payment order in a claim for support for a child (it can be done when the parent from whom support is claimed is registered on the child’s birth certificate).

In case of failure of the other parent to pay alimony, the bailiff should be contacted, with reference to the court decision. On the basis of the Bailiffs Act, the bailiff is entitled to collect a fee for collecting the alimony. In general, the recipient of the alimony shall pay income tax on the alimony, and the payer of the alimony has the right to deduct it from his or her income.

Maintenance allowance

Maintenance allowance is a temporary allowance paid by the state to a minor child whose parent or parents do not perform the maintenance obligation or fail to perform such obligation to the extent prescribed in the Act.

The maintenance allowance scheme is comprised of maintenance allowance during court proceedings and maintenance allowance during enforcement proceedings.

Maintenance allowance during court proceedings

Maintenance allowance during court proceedings is paid if a person has turned to court with a maintenance claim and it has been taken up, but a decision has not been made. Starting from next year, maintenance allowance is paid for 150 days instead of the former 90 days and the amount of maintenance allowance paid is 100 euros per month.

To apply for maintenance allowance during court proceedings, the following must be obtained from the court:

  • the ruling on proposal for payment, or;
  • the ruling on securing an action.

Submitting an application

The application for maintenance allowance during court proceedings (pdf, 246,7 kB, in Estonian) must be submitted to the Social Insurance Board within 45 days after the making of the ruling on proposal for payment or the ruling on securing an action.

Together with the application, the following must be submitted:

  • identity document,
  • the ruling on proposal for payment or the ruling on securing an action.

The name, personal identity code or date of birth and, if possible, address of the obligor must also be included in the application.

The application may be submitted:

  • to an office of the Social Insurance Board;
  • via mail to Tallinn 30, 44311, Rakvere, Estonia;
  • via e-mail, by sending a digitally signed copy to info@sotsiaalkindlustusamet.ee.

Maintenance allowance can be also submitted also at state portal.

The Social Insurance Board makes a decision within 15 working days after the receipt of the application and all the requisite documents. The decision is communicated to the applicant for maintenance allowance and the obligor of the maintenance claim.

Maintenance allowance is paid to the applicant for the preceding month by the tenth day of the following month.

Maintenance allowance during enforcement proceedings

Maintenance allowance during enforcement proceedings is paid if the person who is obliged to pay maintenance for a child does not pay the maintenance, regardless of the fact that they have been ordered to do so by a court judgement. In this case, the maintenance allowance for a child is up to 100 euros per month.

How to receive maintenance allowance during enforcement proceedings

  • If the court decision about a maintenance claim has entered into force, but the obligor continues not to pay the maintenance, turn to a bailiff and submit an application to initiate enforcement proceedings (doc, 35,5 kB, in Estonian). A digitally signed application to initiate enforcement proceedings may also be submitted via e-mail. Additional documents may be submitted via e-mail or mail.
  • If the enforcement proceedings fail to collect maintenance from the obligor, submit an application for maintenance allowance during enforcement proceeding (doc, 118 kB, in Estonian) to a bailiff.
  • A digitally signed application for maintenance allowance during enforcement proceedings may also be submitted via e-mail. Additional documents may be submitted via e-mail or mail.

The state pays maintenance allowance during enforcement proceedings if enforcement proceedings have lasted for at least four months (also known as the waiting period, which provides the obligor with an opportunity to perform their obligation voluntarily). If the obligor has not paid their debt upon the expiry of the waiting period, the bailiff will start keeping records on the maintenance received starting from the following month (also known as the reference period).

The additional waiting period does not apply for enforcement proceedings that have lasted for at least four months before the application for maintenance allowance during enforcement proceedings was submitted; the waiting period applies for new enforcement proceedings only.

Maintenance allowance is paid to the applicant for the preceding month by the tenth day of the following month.

Guardians may also apply for maintenance allowance

An application for maintenance allowance during enforcement proceedings may be submitted with regard to both parents if the applicant is a guardian. In this case, the enforcement proceedings must be initiated against both parents and the application for maintenance allowance must also be submitted against both parents. If the application is submitted against both parents, the amount of maintenance allowance for one child may be up to 200 euros per month.

Claiming maintenance from a parent living abroad

Enforcement proceedings can also be initiated if the parent who is obliged to pay maintenance for a child has moved to a foreign state and stopped paying maintenance for that child. To initiate the proceedings in a foreign state, an application (including an application for maintenance allowance during enforcement proceedings) must be submitted to the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Estonia.

An authorisation document authorising an Estonian bailiff to intermediate maintenance from a foreign state must also be submitted to the Ministry of Justice.

The application to initiate cross-border enforcement proceedings must include the name and official bank account of the bailiff who is authorised to receive the maintenance.

Documents must be submitted to the Ministry of Justice via mail. When all the necessary documents are submitted, the ministry will forward them to relevant parties.

From there on, the parent raising the child will receive information about the enforcement proceedings from the bailiff who they authorised to intermediate maintenance.

The payment of maintenance allowance does not exempt the obligor from their obligation, as the state will reclaim the debt from the parent who has failed to pay maintenance for their child.

Last amended: 21-03-2016 00:00 | Compiled by: Ministry of Justice