Child Proceedings Lawyers in Portugal

In the event of divorce or separation, regardless of whether the parents are married, it is necessary to determine the extent to which the non-custodial parent is required to contribute to household expenses. Ideally. this should happen by consensus of the parents, who will then formalise the custody and maintenance agreements agreed in the Court or the Civil Registry Office.

How is maintenance determined when there is not any parental agreement?

The court will determine the amount of maintenance.

However, contrary to what happens in some countries, there is no "mathematical" formula in Portuguese legislation that allows child support to be determined.

The judges are guided on a case-by-case basis to define the contribution due by each parent, taking into consideration the law and that both parents are obliged to contribute to the support of the children in equal degree.

Any attempt to increase the contribution of one parent must be regarded equitably.

How can the child maintenance amount be increased?

Maintenance payments, specifically those owed to minors, must consider each situation (the child's needs and the financial situation of the parents or appointed guardians).

Over time, the court's initial decision may become inappropriate if either party's financial position has changed. 

This may happen for several reasons:

  • The child may reach school leaving age. 
  • There may be medical costs arising from a child's newly diagnosed illness.
  • Either parent might experience a change in financial circumstances or their employment status.
  • The parent obliged to cover maintenance may no longer able to do so. 
  • If a decrease in the amount of maintenance is not legally formalised in an agreement or in a legal action meant for that purpose, the outstanding amounts will accrue month on month, and the defaulting parent may be obliged to pay them in total.

How can the child maintenance amount decrease?

High court rulings regarding family matters involve maintenance 

Maintenance payments can be specified shortly after the arrival of a child and are maintained, under ordinary conditions, until the child reaches 25 years. There can be circumstances in the lives of parents and children which could alter the amount of maintenance, to a greater or lesser degree. The law decides the fixed maintenance allowance the parent must pay according to the needs of the child.

However, the circumstances of the child may alter. For example, an injury or illness may lead to exceptional health card costs.  Or costs of the child's education may increase.  Also, the child may leave school early and start a job or receive a substantial inheritance. this child or young person's requirements could alter over time and increase the amount of child support (for example, an illness or injury that leads to exceptional health care costs. Also, the child may leave school early and start a job or receive a substantial inheritance.

Maintenance payments that extend into retirement years can also result in a change that impacts the disposable income of the parent, as well as unemployment, disability, bankruptcy and the birth of other children.

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