Alimonies for Parents: In Which Cases You May Claim Maintenance from Your Children?

In Polish family Law the notion “maintenance obligation” is usually associated either with the parents’ duty to maintain their children or with the alimonies that one spouse should pay to another in case of divorce. That is why one may ask whether alimonies can be paid by adult children to their retired parents. If yes, is it an obligation or just a possibility? What are the conditions for parents to have the right of getting maintenance from their adult children?

According to article 133 § 2 of the Polish Family and Guardianship Code, fulfilling maintenance obligations is mandatory only for parents in relations to their children who are not yet able to be financially independent. It means that in other cases, paying alimonies can be ordered only for the benefit of those relatives who are in the state of scarcity. In other words, retired parents are not automatically entitled to get maintenance from their adult children even if the latter are financially well-off. However, the term “state of scarcity” does not mean that to get alimonies from a child, a parent must have extremely law pension and live in poverty. As it stems from the court’s practice, the notion ‘’state of scarcity” in the discussed context covers the situations where a parent does not have enough sources to satisfy his or her basic needs and is not able to obtain such sources. It may also refer to such situations when a parent needs extra sources for buying medicaments or paying a sitter to deal with all the household routine in case of physical inability to take care of himself or herself.

One should take into account that it is hardly possible to get alimonies in case a parent can potentially still earn enough for his living, it refers to situations when a parent is not yet retired and remains in a good state of health to get a job with remuneration that will cover all the urgent needs.

Surely, the issue of maintenance obligation towards parents does not entirely depend on a parent, but is also influenced by a child’s state of affairs. The adult child might be exempted from a maintenance obligation, if paying alimonies is especially detrimental to his finances. The corresponding norm is fixed in article 134 of the Family and Guardianship Code. Moreover, the fulfillment of maintenance obligation can be avoided when the maintenance claimant in question contradicts with the principles of community life. That issue encompasses cases of parents who neglected their parental duties and left their child without taking any care of him/her.

Without any doubts, the matter of maintenance obligations for the benefit of parents is quite complex and intricate. In any case the situation of both, the parent and his or her son or daughter, is to be taken into consideration.