Obligation and pension between parents and children

Obligation and pension between parents and children

The maintenance obligation between parents and children is imposed by the Civil Code. And not just about minor children in case of separation. Here are the reciprocal rights and duties of parents and children in matters relating to maintenance.

The obligation imposed by the law applies equally to parents vis-à-vis their children than the reverse. This reciprocal obligation may also extend to grandparents, and even in-laws. The extent of the obligation is so vast ... Here the contours.


Recall previously that the obligation imposed by law (Article 205 of the Civil Code) is not just about food. The "food"In the legal sense, actually cover the basic needs of human beings: food but also clothing, health care, housing, etc. The pension can be paid in cash or in kind (accommodation, etc.).
By definition, support is always proportional both to the one who pays the resources (the debtor) and the needs of those who receive it (the creditor).

between spouses

During the marriage, each spouse should contribute to household expenses in proportion to its resources. That is to impose, in practice, a spousal support.

This obligation shall continue if the spouses agree for divorce or separation. Depending on the material situation, one spouse may be required to pay the other alimony.

After the procedure, two cases are possible. If there is a separation, the obligation remains as the spouses are still legally married. In case of divorce, one spouse may be required to pay the other a "compensatory allowance" if the separation has caused it real material damage.

In case of death, the heirs of the deceased are also subject to an obligation to the surviving spouse. It must initiate a request during the year following the death or extended period until the shares.

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Between PACS partners

At the signing of the PACS, the partners agree to mutually provide material support and assistance. In addition, each partner must contribute to the expenses of the PACS based on its resources. These obligations end with the dissolution of the PACS.

between unmarried

Cohabitees have no obligation towards each other (except as regards expenses related to any children the couple).

Parents and grandparents

Children are subjected to a maintenance obligation towards their ascendants (parents and grandparents). If they are in need, they can apply for child support, particularly with regard to nursing home accommodation costs.

However, children can be fully or partially discharged by the judge of their obligations when their parent has breached its obligations to them (the parent lost interest in her children exercised abuse, etc.).
However, brides and grooms grandchildren have no obligation to support the grandparents of their spouses.


The same obligation is imposed to the in-laws. Along with his wife, a husband is obliged to assist parents of that in case of need and vice versa. This obligation remains in force as the wife or children of the marriage are alive.
It is the same in case of remarriage and stepfamily: children are required to help their stepmother or stepfather as their father or mother is alive.
This obligation is imposed in case of marriage. However, it is not applicable in case of concubinage or PACS. A person PACS therefore has no obligation to his partner's parents.

adult children

The obligation between ascendants and descendants is mutual. The same duty of care is imposed on the parents of a child who can not maintain himself needs, that child is legitimate, natural or adopted. When parents can not cope with this obligation, then the grandparents bears that burden.


When the child is a minor, the parents are subject to "maintenance obligations" respect not only "food" (Food, housing, clothing, etc.) and education (tuition, study, etc.). This obligation persists even in case of emancipation of a minor. In principle, this maintenance obligation ceases majority of the child. But she can continue beyond if the person concerned pursues his studies. Conversely, the maintenance obligation may sometimes be interrupted before it undertakes a professional activity.

If a parent does not meet its obligation, the other may naturally turn against him demanding his participation in child maintenance.

But this is of course in cases of separation that payment of maintenance is the most common. The parent who does not have custody of the child must contribute to its maintenance. The amount of the pension is determined by the judge based on the needs and resources of each.

The judge may decide indexing support.

In addition, former spouses can request a review of alimony if their personal situation changes.


Unfortunately, it may happen that a debtor does not do meet her obligations. The creditor (parent, child, spouse ...) must initiate legal action to win the case. This is, unfortunately frequent, alimony that spouse is obliged to seek through the courts. The procedure is fast and efficient when it comes to pensions for minor children. It is less so when it involves adults. Especially it is morally difficult to demand through legal assistance from the parents or children.

But if the creditor (child or parent) receives substantial help from social services (excluding classic service), the organizations concerned may apply to (x) the debtor (s) partial or total reimbursement of costs (hospital cost hosting, etc. .). This is particularly the case when the elderly and sick are cared for by social services without the children contribute to the expense. Social organizations can even remove part of the estate after the person's death.

The person who does not pay child support to which it is held for a period of 2 months can also be prosecuted for the offense of family abandonment. This offense is punishable by 2 years in prison and 15,000 euros fine.

See also deduction of alimony
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