LEADELL Pilv Law Office attorney Oleg Matvejev’s comment on the legal regulation of monthly support in Estonia
Attorney Oleg Matvejev from LEADELL Pilv Law Office said that the Estonian-Russian Legal Assistant Agreement provides an opportunity to file a claim for maintenance to both Estonian and Russian courts.
Matvejev recommends submitting a claim for maintenance through a contractual representative in Estonia for several reasons. First of all, the decision must be fulfilled in Estonia. This means that if the decision is made by a Russian court, it will take several more months before the Estonian court declares the Russian decision enforceable in Estonia. While going to an Estonian court, a person can save half a year or more.
Secondly, everything works faster in Estonia, Matvejev is sure: “The population register issues personal data to file an action in court within a few weeks. Presumably, the documents have to be served to the child’s father in Estonia. If documents are served through a Russian court in Estonia, it will take a longer time than within our country”.
If a maintenance claim is submitted in Estonia in the current year, then according to the Family Law Act amendment which entered into force on 1 January, the monthly support is calculated on the basis of the base amount. The base amount for one child is 200 euros, which is indexed on 1 April each year by the change in the consumer price index of the previous year officially published by Statistics Estonia. After indexing, the base amount calculated as a result of indexing in the previous year shall be deemed to be the base amount in the next year.
Three per cent of the average monthly gross wages for the previous calendar year in the Republic of Estonia published on the website of Statistics Estonia is added to the base amount. The added amount is calculated in accordance with the change in the monthly gross wages on 1 April each year.
What amount the child receives depends on the work of the bailiff as well as the composition of the debtor’s assets, including the financial amounts in debtor’s bank accounts.
According to Matvejev, the bailiff has the so-called means of influence if the debtor does not pay monthly support. These can be, for example, the suspension of the right to drive. In rarer cases, reference can also be made to the Penal Code, according to which a parent who knowingly evades payment of monthly support ordered by a court to his or her child of less than eighteen years of age or to his or her child who has attained the age of majority but is incapacitated for work and needs assistance.
If the debtor does not pay maintenance to child, including during the court proceedings, an application for interim protection can be filed on behalf of the child. If this is granted, the amount of maintenance allowance for one child during court proceedings according to the Family Benefits Act is 100 euros per calendar month.