Separation or divorce in the family

If the parents are separated or divorced, the child is entitled to receive child support from the parent who no longer lives in the same household with the child (i.e. non-resident parent). The parents must agree on the amount and payment of child support and, e.g. on the child's living arrangements and visiting rights.

The parents agree on child support with an agreement confirmed by the municipal social welfare office. The agreement is usually drawn up by a antenatal officer. If the parents are unable to come to an agreement on child support, the amount will be determined by a court of law. The parents can agree on child support informally, but child maintenance allowance from Kela will require an agreement confirmed by a court of law or the social welfare office. Kela can pay child maintenance allowance if the amount of child support is too low or the parent liable for maintenance is unable to pay it due to her or his financial situation.

  • Child support = amount based on a child support agreement or decision, paid by the parent liable for maintenance in respect of his or her child.
  • Child maintenance allowance = Benefit paid by Kela to provide economic security if the child does not receive child support from the parent liable for maintenance.
  • Person liable for maintenance = parent required to pay child support under a child support agreement or court decision.
  • Non-resident parent = parent liable for maintenance and not living in the same household with the child.
  • Resident parent = the parent who lives in the same household as the child

Further information about child support and confirmation of support is available, e.g. from the social welfare office of your own municipality.

Eligibility for other benefits

In a situation of separation or divorce, the parent who is living with the child may be eligible for various benefits paid by Kela.

  • The parent who lives with the child, but does not live with a new partner, may be eligible for single-parent supplement to child benefit. If the child lives alternately with both parents, the parents can agree between themselves who will claim the child benefit and single-parent supplement to child benefit from Kela. The single-parent supplement can be claimed, even if the parents have shared custody of the child.
  • The separation or divorce may also have an impact on housing benefits.
  • The care supplement and municipal supplement of child home care allowance are affected by the family's income, so you may become eligible for these benefits if the income of your family falls.
  • In a separation or divorce, the father is usually not eligible for paternity allowance or parental allowance because they usually require that the father lives with the mother and child.

You can use the calculators (in Finnish) to estimate your eligibility for benefits.

Last modified 18/12/2013
Updated 22/10/2012