Useful information for persons liable for maintenance

A person liable for maintenance is a parent who is required to pay child support under a child support agreement or court order.

If the parent liable for maintenance has neglected to pay child support, the resident parent (the parent who lives with the child) can apply for child maintenance allowance from Kela. When the resident parent applies for child maintenance allowance on the basis of not having received child support, Kela will let you know when the claim has been initiated.

The parent liable for maintenance will be able give Kela his/her own view on

  • why the child support has not been paid
  • the amount of child support debt (unpaid child support payments)
  • other matters that may affect the outcome of the decision on child maintenance allowance.

In exceptional cases, child maintenance allowance may be granted without hearing the liable parent, if his/her whereabouts are not known.

If child maintenance allowance is granted, Kela will pay the child maintenance allowance to the resident parent and collect all unpaid child support payments from the parent liable for maintenance, including late payment interest, and all future child support payments due every month. These child support payments that are to be collected are called child support debt. Filing an appeal against a decision concerning child maintenance allowance or a decision concerning exemption from payment of child support does not suspend the collection of child support.

When child maintenance allowance has been granted, Kela will send a letter to the parent liable for maintenance with instructions on how to pay the child support debt.

Once child maintenance allowance has been granted, the parent liable for maintenance must pay all child support payments to Kela. If the liable parent pays the child support directly to the child or to the other parent, the payments will not reduce the amount of child support debt to be collected by Kela. Child support debt expires in 5 years.

The liable parent must always pay the correct amount of child support, which is index-adjusted annually. Information on the index revisions of child support at the turn of the year can usually be found on the websites of the municipalities.

Agreement on child support

On separating or divorcing, the parents agree on child support in an agreement confirmed by the municipal social welfare office. The agreement is usually drawn up by a child welfare officer. If the parents are unable to come to an agreement, the child support to be paid is be determined by a court of law.

Further information about child support and confirmation of maintenance payments is available, for example, from the social welfare office of your municipality.