Is It Possible To Reduce the Amount of Alimonies Due To Covid-19

Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic lots of people all over the globe have faced not only health problems, but financial ones as well. Poland is not an exception in this sense. A person can loose his or her job or suffer from lower income due to the spread of the virus. This situation might be especially painful for those who maintain the whole family or for those who pay alimonies for their former spouse.

In such circumstances one may pose the following question: is it possible to pay less alimony because of the pandemic’s negative effect on wages. In accordance with article 138 of the Polish Family and Guardianship Code you may claim the change of the amount paid, if there have been a drastic change in your circumstances. Pursuant to the well-established court practice, only in this case you are entitled to initiate changes in the court decision on alimonies or your alimony agreement. The notion of “drastic changes in circumstances” includes scenarios of sufficient changes in the financial situation of one of the parties. For example, the above-mentioned notion can describe the situation in which the person to whom alimonies are paid starts to receive more wages and does not need so much alimony as before. In turn, a change of the circumstances might also mean the decrease in incomes of the spouse paying alimonies. The last situation may be quite typical for Covid times. Thus, a spouse paying alimonies to his wife (either for her benefit or for the benefit of his child) who has lost much of his income due to the pandemic may claim the change in the court decision on his alimony agreement under article 138 of the mentioned code. Of course, if you lose your job, it will probably be a self-evident cause for the amount of alimonies to be reduced. However, the court’s decision cannot be so clear-cut in case of a decrease in your salary.

Therefore, the court evaluates all the relevant circumstances of the case, including the level of incomes and natural needs of both parties, in order to rule on whether there has been a substantive decrease of the income that prevents the spouse from paying alimonies in the amount fixed before.

However, it should be admitted that you must not stop paying alimonies or change the amount paid on your own initiative without the official change of the court’s decision on your alimony agreement. In case you are so extremely worse of due to the pandemic that you cannot wait long for a new decision while paying the whole amount, it is possible to claim for an interim relief. It means that the court judging on the merits can relief a claiming person from paying the whole amount of alimonies, while the case is decided upon. However, such an interim relief is usually granted in cases when the positive decision on the claim is highly likely.

Summing up, it should be admitted that it is possible to lower the amount of alimonies, if you have financially suffered during the pandemic. However, the final decision will depend on particular personal circumstances of the claimant which are to be thoroughly analyzed before applying to the court.