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Spousal support – why and how much?

Spousal support is not as widespread as child support. Sometimes spousal support is referred to in layman’s terms as alimony. It is important to know that marriage creates not only community property but also a maintenance obligation between the spouses. Spousal support can apply to both the current spouse and the divorced spouse.

When one parent fails to pay child support
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By law, spouses are supposed to have the same standard of living. If they share a household and have joint accounts, they fulfill their mutual support obligation pretty much automatically without much thought. However, when spouses live separately and also have separate accounts and one pays nothing to the other, nor does one have access to or have dispositive authority over the other spouse’s account, they often begin to resolve the situation around their support.

An example of this is our client Martina, who underwent a major surgery and after the surgery her income was 10,000 crowns a month. In contrast, our client’s husband had several properties and his net income was CZK 120,000. The spouses were separated and the husband refused to contribute in any way to his wife’s maintenance on the grounds that they were separated and he was contributing to the minor children.

He was unsuccessful in this argument, as spousal maintenance took precedence over child maintenance. It is clear from the law that the first person to whom I am obligated to provide alimony is my spouse and only then to the children.

When to go to court for maintenance?

If the other spouse does not provide maintenance voluntarily, it is necessary to go to court. Here, the sooner the better because maintenance can be awarded from the earliest date on which the petition was filed with the court, i.e. from the date I file the petition with the court. It cannot therefore be granted retrospectively, as is the case, for example, with child maintenance. Therefore, if I get into a serious situation and my husband does not provide me with maintenance, I can claim it in court.

This statutory provision is then followed by a provision on divorce. Unfortunately, it happens nowadays that one spouse tries to get rid of his or her maintenance obligation by filing for divorce. The law also provides for such actions and if the other spouse does not agree to the divorce and resists the divorce, the court may not divorce them.

Alimony/Child Support

We can ensure a fair increase or adjustment in your alimony/child support payments, taking into account the financial situation of each party. Our experience will ensure your proposal has the highest chance of success in court. You may pay after services are provided.

Alimony for a divorced spouse

Even if the court divorces the spouses, the divorced spouse is still entitled to alimony under the statutory criteria. The dicta of the law for existing spouses says that they are to have the same standard of living. For divorced spouses, that doesn’t quite apply. However, the fact that the spouse who should be paying alimony caused the marriage to end can play a significant role. In such a case, the court may still set alimony for three years at a similar level as during the marriage.

The Civil Code gives the divorced spouse who did not cause the breakdown of the marriage or did not consent to the divorce and who has suffered serious damage as a result of the divorce the possibility to ask the court to impose maintenance on the former spouse. This should be done in such a way that the divorced spouses have essentially the same standard of living, i.e. as for maintenance for the undivorced spouse. Maintenance can be fixed in this way for a maximum period of three years.

In the case of maintenance for divorced spouses, account is taken, for example, of situations where the divorced wife has been a housewife all her life and her husband divorced her at the end of her life. This is often the case where one spouse has spent the entire productive period of his or her life caring for the family and, after the divorce, finds it difficult to enter the workforce and find employment.

What all affects the amount of maintenance?

For the duration of the marriage, it should basically be based on the joint income, deduct the joint expenses (i.e. rent, food, household, children, etc.) and divide the remaining amount by two. In individual cases, other expenses such as hobbies, etc. may be taken into account.

When deciding on maintenance for a divorced spouse, the court is particularly concerned with how long the divorced marriage lasted and how long the divorce has lasted. It shall also consider the reasons for the divorced spouse’s failure to obtain adequate employment, even though he or she was not prevented from doing so by a serious obstacle, whether the divorced spouse could have provided for his or her maintenance by the proper management of his or her own property, whether the divorced spouse participated in the care of the family household during the marriage, whether the divorced spouse committed a criminal offense against his or her former spouse or a person close to him or her, or whether there is any other similarly serious reason. Thus, if, for example, the wife had committed a crime against her former husband, the court would probably not award her alimony. For example, one of the offenses in such cases is perjury.

If the spouses divorce by agreement – so-called uncontested divorce – and conclude an agreement on the division of the matrimonial property, they also stipulate other details, such as whether they will provide alimony to each other or whether they will pay a lump sum of money to the other spouse to replace the routine alimony.

Finally, it should be remembered that if the former spouse has committed domestic violence against the other spouse, he or she is not entitled to maintenance. And the divorced spouse’s right to maintenance ceases if the divorced spouse remarries or enters into a registered partnership.

In practice, we encounter cases where spouses keep separate accounts and one spouse does not want to provide any financial support to the other spouse, does not contribute to the running of the household and everything is paid for by one spouse only, without any agreement between them. It is important to remember that spouses have a maintenance obligation towards each other by law and, even though they may not actually live together but are still married, their maintenance obligation continues.

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Author of the article

Mgr. Lucie Petránková

Lucie understands the legal profession like few others, and she defends the interests of her clients both inside and outside the courtroom. Lucie has won hundreds of disputes, and her role on our team is to ensure the smooth and effiecient transfer of real properties. She is also experienced in both civil law and family law.

Education
  • Postgraduate studies Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Law, field: medical law,
  • Universita Pantheon d ´Assas Paris II,
  • Law, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Law

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