A Discussion on the Obligations and Rights of Family Members Regarding Support
In modern society, the family serves as the core of people’s lives, and the obligations and rights of family members regarding support are an essential topic that cannot be ignored. With changes in family structures and shifts in societal values, the concept of support and the related legal provisions have been continuously adjusted. This article explores relevant articles in the Civil Code concerning support and how legal issues can be addressed in different scenarios.
According to Article 1115 of the Civil Code, when multiple individuals share the obligation to provide support, there is a specific order of priority: first, it’s the lower-ranking blood relatives of direct lineage, followed by higher-ranking blood relatives of direct lineage, then parents, siblings, other relatives, daughters-in-law, sons-in-law, and finally the parents of a spouse. In cases where individuals share the same degree of relationship, priority is given to those with closer blood ties. Under the same degree of relationship, the responsibility to provide support is divided based on financial capability.
Furthermore, Article 1117 of the Civil Code limits the scope of individuals entitled to receive support. Only those who “are unable to maintain their livelihood and lack the ability to support themselves” have the right to claim support. This means that individuals seeking support must be financially incapable of self-sufficiency to qualify for such assistance.
However, when multiple individuals bear the obligation to provide support and share the same degree of relationship, the responsibility to provide support should be divided based on their financial capacity. If special circumstances arise, such as instances where the support obligation provider subjects the recipient to abuse or significant humiliation, or when there is no justifiable reason to fulfill the support obligation, Article 1118-1 of the Civil Code allows the support obligation provider to request the court to reduce or exempt them from the support obligation. Naturally, such requests require careful consideration and judgment based on the specific situation.
How is the calculation of support determined?
The calculation of support plays a crucial role in family legal disputes, and determining how much support each parent should contribute is typically resolved through mutual agreement between the spouses. However, if consensus cannot be reached, seeking intervention from the court for a decision is possible. According to the provisions of the Family Litigation Act, requests involving support must undergo a mediation process by the court before litigation begins. This process aims to facilitate amicable and rational negotiations for a support agreement. If mediation fails to produce an agreement, litigation becomes necessary. In such cases, when calculating support, courts typically refer to the “National Income and Expenditure Survey Report by the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics – Average Monthly Expenditure per Person” as a reference for calculating support. However, this is just one aspect of consideration; courts also take into account other factors such as the child’s needs, the income of both parents, financial circumstances, and caregiving arrangements. As a result, calculating support is not solely based on data but requires in-depth analysis and evaluation of individual circumstances.
It’s worth emphasizing that before entering into the court litigation process, a mediation procedure is still required, aiming to achieve a settlement between both parties. While proceeding to court may strain the relationship between parties, it is the final resolution pathway. Thus, negotiations during the support mediation phase tend to be more flexible, allowing both parties to adapt negotiations to specific circumstances to reach a consensus.
According to the provisions of the Civil Code, the degree and method of support can be adjusted due to changes in circumstances. Especially when children are still minors, if specific situations arise that lead to the originally agreed-upon support being insufficient to cover necessary expenses, it’s possible to initiate discussions for support adjustments. This can be achieved through mutual agreement between parents or by requesting court intervention for adjustments. Additionally, starting from January 1, 2023, the legal adult age in our country has been adjusted from the original age of 20 to 18. However, those who already enjoyed rights and benefits until the age of 20, based on prior laws, administrative decisions, court judgments, or contracts, can still retain these rights and benefits after this legal adjustment, enjoying the relevant benefits for legal adults up to the age of 20.