This obligation is generally discharged by a monthly payment known as maintenance. The court fixes the amount of the payment and the conditions for its variation but it may exempt a parent from that obligation if he or she undertakes to house, feed and maintain a child.
In principle, maintenance payments are personal and cannot be transferred to anyone else.
If your maintenance payments are in arrears you can immediately take court action to enforce payment (see Enforcement of court decisions).
In some Member States you can request an attachment order for the amount of maintenance against sums payable to the debtor by other persons (e.g. an employer or a bank).
If civil enforcement proceedings do not produce the desired result, in some circumstances you may be entitled to apply to the court to have the maintenance collected through the national revenue authorities.
Lastly, some Member States have public funds available if a maintenance creditor fails to pay.
You can find information on the procedures available in a country for enforcing maintenance payments and on the competent authorities by clicking on the country's flag.
You can find information on the enforcement of maintenance payments in a different Member State by clicking on the Community law icon.
You can also find information on international conventions by clicking on the International law icon.
Last update: 17-08-2004