EX- SPOUSE AND CHILDREN ALIMONY AFTER DIVORCE UNDER GREEK LAW
According to the article 1485 of the Civil Code, parents and children have mutual obligation of alimony. The same applies to spouses and relatives of different degree.
These obligations that arise not only from the Law but also from ethical rules and they aim to the support of the institution of the family, in some cases, continue to bear effects after the dissolution of marriage. Specifically, the legislation provides that there is a special alimony obligation between former spouses only in certain cases that are listed in law and a general alimony obligation from parents to children, since the dissolution of marriage does not affect anything from a legal perspective in relation to the children.
The above obligations are mentioned below:
Α/ EX- SPOUSE ALIMONY
According to Greek law, each spouse is obliged after the divorce to ensure that their capable of meeting their own needs, based on their own merits and revenues. However, there are certain exceptions to this principle, as they are exhaustively mentioned in the art. 1442 of the Civil Code. If one of these exceptions are applicable, the wealthiest spouse is obliged to pay alimony to the other. The aim of this provision is clearly to serve ethical and social reasons and is irrespective of which spouse is responsible for the ending of their marital life.
Thus, in order for the less wealthy spouse to be entitled to receive alimony from the other spouse, one of the exceptions referred to the art. 1442 of the Civil Code should be met. Specifically, the alimony could be owed in case that one of the spouses is in such age or health condition, at the time the divorce is issued, that does not allow them to work in order to make their own living or the custody of the children prevent them from exercising an appropriate profession, or they are unable of finding a steady work, as well as due to reasons of indulgence.
Several criteria are taken into consideration by the courts so as to determine the amount of the alimony owed by the wealthiest spouse to the other. The living conditions of the beneficiary spouse during their marital life, as well as after their divorce is of great importance. Furthermore, basic criterion is the financial situation of both the beneficiary and the debtor spouse, as well as their property and its ability to exploit it.
According to no. 12781/2015 decision of the Court of First Instance of Thessaloniki, the wealthier spouse in this case, whose income amounted to approximately € 1.370 per month, should pay the amount of 100€ per month to his former spouse, since she encountered health issues and was unable to find a job, despite the efforts she had undertaken. In another case, the Court of Appeal of Athens judged, with its no. 2226/2010 decision, that the wealthier spouse, whose income amounted to approximately € 12,000 per month, should pay the amount of € 2,500 per month to his former spouse, as she was facing psychological problems, was of advanced age and due to her long absence from the professional field, would find it extremely difficult to find a suitable job.
Β/ CHILDREN ALIMONY
After the divorce is issued the children- even if they are adults- are entitled to alimony, since they cannot support themselves by finding a suitable job for their age or by exploiting their property or due to their health situation, educational needs etc.. As far as the minor children are concerned they should receive alimony in case their income from their property or job is not sufficient to cover their needs.
The determination of the amount of the alimony depends on the needs of the beneficiary, according to their living standards, namely their special living conditions. Specifically, the main factors that are taken into account from the courts are the age and the health condition of the beneficiary, their place of residence, their educational needs, as well as the financial situation of the person liable to provide alimony.
At this point it should be pointed out that the parents have joint obligation to provide for the children, each according to their financial capacity. However, the parent assigned with the custody of a minor child may include in their alimony obligation any actual expenses, and/or any personal services arising from their cohabitation with the minor child, such as the time spent to assist the child in the preparation for the school and to escort the minor in school and in their activities, the household etc.
The amount of the alimony should be correspondent to all beneficiary’s needs that are essential, excluding extravagant wishes or irrational demands. Thus, the alimony includes any money required to cover their upbringing and professional or general education.
The Supreme Court with its decision no. 953/2015 upheld the relevant decision of the Court of Appeal, according to which, the necessary alimony amount in order for the beneficiary’s needs to be met was up to 1.200 €. It should be noted that the beneficiary was an adult, however, due to his studies it was not feasible for him to find themselves a suitable job.
According to no. 82/2014 decision of the Court of First Instance of Tripoli, the necessary alimony amount in order for the two minor children’ needs to be met was up to 800 €. The court after taking into consideration the financial situation of the parents, as well as the personal services offered to them by their mother who had custody, judged that the father, whose income was approximately 1510€, should contribute the amount of 330€ and the mother, who gains approximately 2.000€ per month, should pay the rest of the alimony amount.
According to no. 1831/2014 decision of the Court of Appeal of Athens, the necessary alimony amount in order for the two minor children’ needs to be met was up to 2.200 €. The court after taking into account the financial situation of the parents, as well as the personal services offered to them by their mother who had custody and the health issue she encounters, judged that the father, who was a doctor and whose income was approximately 11.600€, should contribute the amount of 1.800€ and the mother, who income was approximately 1.500€ per month, should pay the rest of the alimony amount.
According to no. 7193/2012 decision of the Court of First Instance of Athens, the beneficiary’s right for alimony is considered as abusively exercised, in case the beneficiary does not fulfills their obligations, deriving from the article 1507 of the Civil Code. The article 1507 C.C. provides that both parents and children ought to show mutual assistance, support and respect. In the relevant case, it was proved from specific incidents that the beneficiary was treating his father in a derogatory and contemptuous way and thus, his right for alimony provision was abusively exercised. The court rejected his application for alimony.
C/ AMENDMENT OF THE ALIMONY TERMS
According to the art. 1494 of the Civil Code, in case a term of the alimony alters after the relevant decision of the court is issued, the court may amend its decision or even order the discontinuation of the alimony obligation.
Such terms subject to changes are mainly the conditions that the court took into account in order to issue its decision, such as the health condition and the financial situation of both the beneficiary and the debtor, the general financial situation of the country etc.
As per consequence, if any changes regarding the beneficiary’s living conditions or the financial state of the debtor occur after the issuance of a court decision defining the amount of alimony payable, it is possible for the court to adjust the amount of the alimony, upon beneficiary’s or debtor’s request.
D/ INTERIM MEASURES
Finally, it should be mentioned that the Law provides that an application for interim measures can be submitted and a relevant court decision can be issued, in case there is an emergency and/or imminent risk.
For instance, such emergency occurs when the other parent is unable of even temporarily providing for the child or themselves, and thus, their decent living is endangered.