Thursday, 14 February 2019

Constitutional Court backs US man paying high child maintenance

16 May 2018

Brno, May 15 (CTK) - The Czech Constitutional Court (US) met a complaint filed by an American man paying the maintenance of 105,000 crowns a month for his three children in total and returned the case to the Prague Municipal Court for reappraisal on Tuesday, the US has released on its website.

The US rules that not only the man's previous income and financial possibilities, but also his current real pay level must be taken into consideration.

The American man claims that he is now earning less than before and moreover, he has additional costs as he has started a new family.

"A sufficiently strong emphasis was not put on the complainant's current property situation, though the complainant experienced a drastic decline in his income, and besides, he had additional costs connected with his new family and visits of his children," judge rapporteur Milada Tomkova said in the finding.

The man met his former wife of Czech origin in the United States and they moved to the Czech Republic as she wished this. The children have been in their mother's care since the divorce.

The man decided to return to the United States and as he changed a job, his income decreased. He claims he has to sell off his real estate and borrow money to be able to cover the set level of child maintenance.

So far the courts have pointed to his previous property situation and claimed that he caused its worsening himself by leaving his previous job without a serious reason and moving to the USA.

However, the Constitutional Court did not agreed with the other courts' argumentation.

The Czech law does not set a strict way of calculating child maintenance. Courts must therefore consider all criteria and define its level with regard to the particular situation as well as the sense and purpose of child support.

The aim is not to be to keep the child's living standards regardless of the situation of the parent paying maintenance.

Courts are to primarily base their decision on the child's justified needs and the property situation of the parent paying maintenance, the US ruled.

It also pointed to the parent's right to a free choice of occupation. Courts must always carefully asses whether it is legitimate to demand that the parent find a better paid job due to child maintenance.

However, Tuesday's US finding does not mean that the child maintenance must be lowered in this particular case, but courts must reassess its level.

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