If you have children and have or are about to separate or divorce, you have probably come across the words alimony and maintenance support. Many find the terms confusing and difficult to keep track of what is what. Both alimony and maintenance support are about financial support for children, but what exactly is the difference between the two?
Alimony is paid by one parent to the other
Alimony is what one parent pays the other to cover the child’s living expenses. Alimony is paid when the child spends more time with one of you. This way, the financial responsibility for the child is balanced out. How much alimony one parent pays depends on their finances and the child’s needs. The alimony has to cover the costs of the child’s clothes, food, school fees, any leisure activities and such. At the Swedish Social Insurance Agency’s website, you can calculate how much the alimony will end up being.
Maintenance support when alimony cannot be paid
If the child mostly lives with one parent and the other parent is unable to pay alimony, the Swedish Social Insurance Agency steps in and pays maintenance support to the parent who has the children most of the time. The maintenance support has to then be paid back to the Social Insurance Agency from the parent who owes alimony.
The maintenance support is always the same, regardless of your finances. The Swedish Social Insurance Agency pays out:
- SEK 1,673/month up to and including the month the child turns 7.
- SEK 1,823/month from the month after the child turns 7.
- SEK 2,223/month from the month after the child turns 15.
If you’re the one who has to pay back maintenance support, the amount you have to pay depends entirely on your finances. The Social Insurance Agency calculates how your finances look and then decides what you will pay per month. If your finances are strained, you can pay back a smaller amount a month without it affecting the maintenance support that’s being paid out. If, on the other hand, you have an economy that the Social Insurance Agency considers good enough, you pay the same amount back as they pay out.
When your child is old enough to work, it’s important to keep track of how much the child earns since it affects the maintenance support. Your child can have an annual income upto SEK 60,000 without it affecting the maintenance support. If your child earns more than that, the maintenance support will also be lower. And the amount you have to pay back also decreases.