Legal Aspects of Alimentary Support

16 November, 2020
Alimentary support is regulated by national and international laws. It refers to a parent's obligation to support their children and vice versa.

Within family law, there’s a list of rights and obligations that all members must obey and enforce. One of them is alimentary support, which involves rights and obligations.

This obligation refers to the responsibility of the family member who must provide alimentary support, and the right for the member who receives it: the obliger vs. the obligee. Spouses or next of kin will have to provide assistance with the family member’s basic needs.

In this article, we’ll mention elements that will help us understand the legal aspects of these rights and obligations, which are regulated by national and international laws.

Support between relatives

In Spain, the legal terminology to talk about alimentary support’s rights and obligations is “On support between relatives.” The Spanish Civil Code regulates it in Articles 142 to 153, Title VI, Book I. However, the terminology isn’t the best choice, because the obligation isn’t exactly among “relatives.”

Food as a basic need.

As a matter of fact, the rights and obligations involve direct relatives, such as parents, children and siblings. But, they also include spouses, even though they’re not considered to be family members. Another characteristic of these obligations is that it doesn’t only involve alimentary rights, but support in general.

A regulation in force again

Other legal entities have absorbed these alimentary obligations for many years. However, during recent years, this regulation came into force again.

This is due to the sociodemographic reality, which shows an increasing aging of the population. The fact that more elderly people exist, resulted in certain dependency from a part of the population.

Another reason is that many young people find it hard to become independent from their parents. This occurs, mainly, because their incorporation into the labor market is later – due to the extension of their studies – and the lack of affordable housing.

Finally, the increase in divorce rates has also contributed to the validity of alimentary support. In fact, more and more children claim support from one of their parents, even though they’re of adult age.

Alimentary support definition

Alimentary support among relatives involves one or several people forced to support those relatives who need assistance, and who have the right to receive it. It mainly applies to direct relatives: parents, siblings, spouses, children (by birth or adoption).

The goal of this obligation is that the obligor provides the obligee everything that fulfills all basic needs. This concept is based on family solidarity in the presence of any need from one of the members.

This need usually occurs as a result of some type of failure in the attempt to satisfy their own needs or as a result of certain physical or mental disability.

Father providing alimentary support.

For instance, it can occur in a situation of unemployment, illness or any other circumstance that prevents people from taking care of themselves. As for the obligor, they must be in a socioeconomic situation that enables them to fulfill this obligation.

Characteristics of alimentary support

Alimentary support is regulated by law, so there’s no saying from the parties involved. The only right the obligor has is to decide the method that suits them the best. They can either set an allowance based on their financial possibilities, or take in and support the needy in their home.

Only the obligee and obligor have the right to demand and provide alimentary support. Thus, alimentary support is personal, non-transferable and inalienable.

The right to claim for alimentary support is imprescriptible. That means that the relative who needs it can exercise that right at any time.