alimony(redirected from alamony)
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money that some members of the family must pay, in situations specified by law, to other members of the family who are in need of it. Soviet law determines the persons who have the right to alimony, the persons who are obligated to pay it, its amount, and the date it must be paid. Thus, minors and, in some cases, disabled adult members of a family are entitled to alimony. Minors must be supported in the first place by the parents (or adoptive parents). If the parents are dead or lack sufficient means, the law provides that other members of the family must support the children—the child’s grandparents, his adult brothers or sisters, or the stepparents. Disabled and needy adults must be supported in the first place by their spouses, if they have sufficient means, or by their adult children or parents; if these persons are unavailable, this duty is imposed on other members of the family—grandchildren, stepchildren, and so forth.
The amounts established by law for child support are one-fourth of the parents’ total earnings (income) for the support of one child, one-third for two children, and one-half for three or more children. Courts may reduce these amounts if the collection of such alimony deprives other minor children of the same parent of equal material benefits, if the parent required to pay the alimony is an invalid of the first or second group, or if the children work and earn a sufficient salary. Courts may also reduce the amount of alimony or relieve parents from paying it if the children are wards of the state or a public organization. The monthly amount of alimony for the support of minor children, collected from other persons, as well as alimony for the support of disabled adults, regardless of who has to pay, is determined by the court based on the financial position of the person required to pay the alimony and on the need of the person who has the right to the alimony. Alimony for the support of children is paid until they reach majority, that is, 18 years of age. Adults receiving alimony for support lose their right to it if the circumstances that originally necessitated it no longer exist. For instance, alimony for the support of children paid by persons other than the parents is suspended if the parents become able to support their children; the alimony to an adult is suspended if it is established that he is able to work; and so forth.
If a person refuses to pay alimony voluntarily, it is collected through the court. Plaintiffs in alimony suits are granted several procedural privileges; they are relieved of paying state taxes, they can file the suit at court, according to the defendant’s or plaintiffs place of residence, and given other privileges. The court’s decision on collecting alimony is subject to immediate execution, even before it legally enters into force.
Legislation of socialist countries establishes an order of priorities in charging members of a family with paying alimony (for instance, in Bulgaria) or provides that relatives in descending line (progeny) have priority in the right to alimony over relatives in ascending line (ancestors), and that relatives in ascending line have priority over brothers and sisters (for example, in Poland).
In most bourgeois states (Britain, France, and others), legislation provides for the right to alimony for the support of legitimate children if the parents are divorced or separated. Parents also have the right to collect alimony. The amount of alimony is not regulated by legislation, but is determined by the courts.