JT Law's Sydney team
According to the pertinent laws in Greece, the obligation of parents to support their children is mandated by Section 1489 of the Greek Family Law (Civil Code), which states in the pertinent part: "The parents are under an obligation to provide maintenance for their child jointly each in proportion to his means." Section 1486 sets the conditions for maintenance: "Solely a person who cannot provide for his own maintenance by means of his property or of work appropriate to his age, the state of his health, and his other living conditions, having also regard to possible needs for his education, shall have the right to claim maintenance." In essence, both parents have the obligation to support their children according to their means. The exact apportionment of child support between the two parents is a matter to be determined by the Greek Courts, which take into consideration the specific facts of each case and interpret the laws accordingly.
The main factor that Greek Courts usually take into consideration, when determining the parents' child support obligation is the financial status of each parent (whether income from employment, ownership of property that can produce income, potential ability to work, etc.). Upon determining the financial ability of each parent, the Courts then decide a fair and equitable apportionment. This obligation of child support, however, only applies towards those children that cannot objectively provide for their own maintenance.
The issue of whether an obligation to support a child exists or not, is a case by case determination; the Court examines the specific facts regarding each child, their individual educational needs and status, their ability to find a job that can sustain them, etc. and then it determines whether a parent is liable for their support.
Based on both statutory and case law in Greece, a parent's obligation to support his or her children does not necessarily end with maturity (18 years). It can continue throughout adulthood, provided the child is studying and/or cannot support himself or herself. According to recent rulings of the Greek Supreme Court (Arios Pagos - the highest Court in civil matters in Greece), "An adult child also has the right of maintenance by his parents, if he cannot support himself from his estate or work appropriate for his age, his state of health and his living conditions, taking into consideration also his educational needs. This maintenance includes according to Article 1493 of the Civil Code, all that is necessary to support the beneficiary plus the expenses for his raising as well as his professional and general education. A right of maintenance is also available to a child that, due to the needs of his education, cannot find appropriate work that would allow the uninterrupted continuation of his studies. The educational needs depend on the remaining living conditions of the beneficiary. Education is also the professional, theoretical technique, of any level, including higher or highest education. The performance of the beneficiary is also taken into consideration, to wit: his ability to perform according to the demands of a certain grade and level of education." (Decision 117/2000ΑΠ, Decision 1681/2005ΑΠ), Decision 1402/2005ΑΠ).
Additionally, in the case that a child born out of wedlock, the father's obligation for child support starts at the time of the legal recognition of the child. According to the Greek Law, if the paternity is very probable and if the mother has severe financial problems, it is possible to request the issuance of a temporary Court order directing the father to pay child support, until a Judgment is issued determining the paternity issue.
In conclusion, the issue of child support is decided on a case-by-case basis; the Courts consider the facts presented to them, the specific individual needs (whether educational or other) of the child at issue, the financial ability of both parents, as well as the child's standard of living and then determine whether and which parent has a child support obligation and to what extent.
All the above procedures for the issuance of a Divorce, alimony, child support and children custody in Greece, can be accomplished through a limited Power of Attorney to specialised Greek lawyers, like our Law Firm in Greece.