Responsibility for Non-payment of Child Maintenance

Failure to pay child maintenance is a painful problem for many Ukrainian families. Nowadays Ukraine has been trying to strengthen the protection of the child rights and actively fighting against defaulting maintenance payers by reforming family law. The latter action, taken in this area, is the increasing the responsibility for failure to pay child maintenance and simplifying the accountability mechanism.

So what should you expect?

Temporary restrictions

Fulfillment of court orders and decisions in maintenance payments is the power of the State Executive Service. Therefore, if maintenance payer doesn’t pay alimony for more than 4 months, the Executive Officer can order one of the temporary restrictions:

  • to the right to travel outside Ukraine;
  • to the right to drive vehicles;
  • to the right to use firearms, hunting, pneumatic and wetted weapons and some other types of weapons;
  • to the right to hunt.

All these limitations apply until the full repayment of the debt.

Temporary restriction to drive vehicles has peculiarities. Responsibility in this form cannot be applied in case of:

  • if driving a vehicle is the debtor’s main legal livelihood (for example, he is driver, taxi driver, carrier)
  • if driving is carried out in connection with a disability or if the debtor takes care of persons with disabilities (groups I and II)
  • completing military service, performing military tasks in a combat situation or in the area of ​​an anti-terrorist operation;
  • in the case of payment by installments or termination deferred payment, which are established by the relevant court decision.

The most effective of these temporary measures is driving restrictions. However, in practice, such a limitation hasn’t worked perfectly yet. There are a lot of problems with the verification of such debtors by the police in the relevant register, a significant number of appeals of the protocols issued by the police for improper reporting of debtors about the application of such a temporary restriction by the executor, and others.

Community Service

Failure to pay child maintenance for more than 6 months entails the imposition of an administrative penalty in the form of community service for a period of 120 to 240 hours. In this case, the Executor state can draw up a protocol of an administrative offense and send it for consideration to the court.

The types of community service are determined by the relevant city, town or village councils. But there are exceptions in this penalty. Such service is not imposed to:

  • disabled people of I or II group;
  • pregnant women;
  • women over 55 years old and men over 60 years old.

In case of evasion from performing community service, the department of the State Prison Service may apply to the court for administrative arrest for a term up to 10 days of person who doesn’t perform the community service.

Malicious evasion of child maintenance

The non-payer of alimony may be prosecuted by the verdict of court. But only for malicious evasion of maintenance. It means failure to comply with a court decision and a debt for more than 3 months. It can also be concealment of income, changing of place of residence or place of work without notifying the Executive Service, private Execotor etc. The penalty for malicious evasion of child maintenance is the community service for a term from 80 to 120 hours or arrest for a term up to 3 months, or imprisonment for a period up to 2 years.

In addition, there is criminal liability for evading the community service. That means, if the debtor was assigned community service but he failed to appear for more than two times during the month without a reason, he faces imprisonment for up to 2 years.

Departure of the child without the consent of the non-payer of alimony

There are a lot of cases when the child lives with one of the parents by decision of the court. In this situation the one of parents, child is living with, can independently decide on the child’s departure abroad for the purpose of medical treatment, study or vacation in case of non-payment of alimony by the other parent for the last 4 months. For this purpose, you no longer need to take permission from the other parent to let the child travel. You just need to contact the Executive Service and get a certificate of debt. Such a certificate is issued within 10 days and is valid for one month from the date of its issuance.

Public response

For the purpose of psychological impact on parents a Unified Register of Debtors has been created. It includes parents who have a debt of more than 3 months. On the official website https://erb.minjust.gov.ua/#/search-debtors you can find information about a specific offender in the public domain. Therefore, all non-payer counterparties have the opportunity to think before entering into personal or business relations with such a person.

You won’t be able to escape

If the debtor is abroad, he will be still legally responsible for non-payment of alimony. There are a number of international instruments governing the implementation of maintenance payments from abroad.

In some cases, the parent, child is living with, can abuse the right of receiving child support. There are a lot of situations when the father helps ex-wife and their child regularly, but the ex-wife still goes to court to issue a court order to pay child support. We advise to record the amount of child support. This can be done by reporting bank transfers, sending money by post or bank transfer indicating the purpose of such payment (for example, “alimony for the maintenance of the son (daughter) …. (surname, name, patronymic)”.

Thus, remember, if your ex-spouse maliciously avoids paying child support, the legislation is on your side.

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