Obligations of providing financial support within a family

The spouses shall be mutually obliged to support their family. During their marriage, a spouse is obliged to support his or her spouse if the latter is incapacitated for work, as well as during pregnancy and child care until the child turns three years of age.

Financial support must also be provided to woman for 8 weeks before and 12 weeks after birth, regardless of whether the parents of the child are married or not.

Dependents may also include adult children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents on condition that they are not capable of supporting themselves.

Providing financial support after divorse

Financial support can be sought from a spouse also after a divorce. Divorced spouses can file for support if they are

  • caring for a child of under three years of age
  • elderly
  • in poor health.

The level of support is determined so that the standard of living of the divorced spouse would remain the same as during the marriage.

Obligation of the parent

A parent is obligated to maintain their underage child and their child who is an adult but is incapacitated for work and needs assistance. They also have to maintain their child who is acquiring basic, secondary, or higher education or is enrolled in formal vocational education as an adult. If the child turns 21, the maintenance obligation generally ends.

If the parent fails to perform the obligation to maintain the child, a court will require them to pay maintenance allowance to the child on the request of the other parent, guardian, or a guardianship authority.

If the parent will not pay maintenance allowance voluntarily, turn to a court. If you have already turned to a court but the court decision has not been made yet, you can receive temporary aid.

Agreements concerning claims for support authenticated by a notary, according to which a debtor has consented to be subject to immediate compulsory enforcement, are the enforcement instruments that can be used to consult with a bailiff without going to a court first if a person refuses to pay maintenance allowance.

If the other parent is not against the maintenance claim, we advise you to start an expedited procedure in matters of payment order. You can do this electronically at www.e-toimik.ee.

The court will take the parents’ financial situation into consideration when making a decision about paying maintenance allowance. This means that their job, other dependants, etc. are taken into consideration. However, the most important variables in determining the amount of the maintenance allowance are the interests of the child, which the court will consider separately for every case.

A prerequisite for receiving maintenance allowance is applying for the court to order maintenance allowance payments in an expedited procedure in matters of payment order or a in an action. If you are applying for maintenance allowance to be paid in an expedited procedure in matters of payment, then maintenance allowance is applied for on the basis of the ruling on proposal for payment. If you are applying for maintenance allowance to be paid in action, you have to provide the court with an application of securing an action in which you apply for the maintenance obligation deriving from the law to be performed, i.e. the defendant is obligated to pay maintenance allowance during court proceedings. If the court accepts the application for securing an action, then the ruling on proposal for payment is the basis of the application for maintenance allowance.

To receive maintenance allowance, you have to first go to court for the maintenance allowance to be awarded.

If one parent has instituted court proceedings against the other parent for maintenance allowance to be awarded and there is:

  • a court ruling on proposal for payment in the case of a maintenance request of expedited procedure in matters of payment order or
  • ruling on securing an action, which is the application of securing an action that was provided to the court about the obligation to perform maintenance obligations, they can apply for maintenance allowance in the State Portal.

Releasing from the obligation to provide maintenance – the court can release a spouse from the obligation to provide maintenance for the other spouse or limit the obligation in time.

The State Portal eesti.ee does not provide legal assistance.

Last amended: 05-07-2018 00:00 | Compiled by: Ministry of Justice