A Few Notes on Child Support (and Alimony)

A Few Notes on Child Support (and Alimony) Corrales & Associates Law Firm Blog

The Family Code (Law 870) came into effect in 2015 and it regulates all rights and obligations related to the family, paternity, establishing parameters for the Family Courts, removing much of the discretion Judges enjoyed.

Within the regulations of the new Code is everything related to Food, its definition, who has the right to request them, and who is obliged to grant them.

In our legislation, Child Support/Alimony are the necessary goods that are provided for the life of a person, for their integral development, which includes food, clothing, education, cultural development, medical care (that is not covered by social security or public health), medications, rehabilitation, and special education when there is a disability regardless of the age of the person.

The order of support is first child support to children who have not reached legal age, this includes those conceived and unborn, children over 21 as long as they are in college/university or are in state of helplessness, if they have not gotten married or living with a partner, and are not working. But the spouse or partner, brothers and sisters, ascendants and descendants up to the second degree of consanguinity are also entitled to food when they are in a state of need or helplessness.

It is a personal right and a personal obligation, imprescriptible, inalienable, non-negotiable and non-transferable. This right is unattachable, it is not compensable with another debt, it has privilege and priority over another obligation and it cannot be garnished by any creditor. It will affect all types of net income (after deductions by law), ordinary or extraordinary, including the thirteenth month or aguinaldo, this being the only legal concept that has such privilege.

Legal action can be filed against the spouse, ex-spouse, descendants, ascendants, siblings, and the father of the unborn child. Its legal basis is the need that a person may have to receive what is necessary to survive, given their inability to provide it for themselves. The obligation to provide support does not necessarily end when the children reach legal adulthood.

The spouse or partner can demand alimony for themselves and his/her children, even if they are not separated, it is not even necessary to divorce to sue for alimony, as they can sue for alimony and child support, without a pronouncement regarding the divorce.

There is an action that is not widely known and little used, such as the Supervision of the Use of Alimony or compensatory pension, the Family Code in its article 333 establishes that ex officio the Court or at the request of a party, can order the verification of how the alimony or compensatory support assigned is being used and in case of any deviation or anomaly in the use of the funds, the Court must take the necessary steps to correct this, by reducing the monthly amount and sometimes even returning part of the funds. The support issued by Court order can only be permanently suspended in case the condition that caused the order of support change.

It is important to know that these type of judicial processes can take from 30 to 90 days approximately, counting from the presentation of the first brief of the claim to the reading of the ruling, but there are exceptional cases where this type of lawsuit may last longer, depending on the complexity of the matter and other internal factors attributable to the judiciary.