Ekaterina Abakumova has analysed for Pravo.ru the position of the Supreme Court on the lawfulness of reducing alimony when the payer’s income decreases

Ekaterina Abakumova - Advocate

The Supreme Court of the Russian Federation has pointed out that a change in a financial situation of a paying parent is not an unconditional argument for maintenance reducing. It must be established that it is not possible to pay the same amount, taking into account all types of income.

This conclusion was reached in a case in which an ex-spouse asked for alimony to be reduced and for it to be paid in fixed sums due to a decrease in his earnings following a change of employment. At the same time, according to his ex-partner, the plaintiff owned bank accounts, securities and shares in companies. Courts of three instances upheld the claim, but the Supreme Court overturned their rulings, pointing to a formal approach to the case.

Ekaterina Abakumova, Advocate of Private Wealth practice at Maxima Legal, told Pravo.ru legal online publishing that there are situations when alimony payers with a high official income are trying to abuse their rights and reduce the court-ordered alimony. In order to do this, they artificially reduce the amount of their wages while the case is being considered in court.

The expert explained that the maintenance in a fixed sum of money is not tied to the payer’s earnings. If the plaintiff’s wages become the same after some time, the child will receive much less support than would be expected if alimony was paid as a percentage of the child’s wages. In such a situation, everything will depend on whether the child’s mother will be able to learn about the increase in income of the maintenance payer in time and respond promptly. Namely – to submit an appropriate lawsuit. Otherwise, the child may for a long time to lose a decent maintenance from their father.

According to Ekaterina, in the context of such cases of abuse of rights, the emphasis of the Supreme Court on the inadmissibility of the formal approach is very important. ” Only if this formal approach is excluded, you can minimize cases where alimony is reduced due to reluctance of one of parents to pay a decent child support, rather than on the objective impossibility to pay the alimony in the previous amount,” said the Advocate.

To read the full article (in Russian) please see Pravo.ru website>>>