Alimony obligation with children of legal age
Child support is a day-to-day issue in many families; however, there is an observation to be made regarding the alimony which is not normally discussed, and is that of alimony in favor of children of legal age. It is common to think that, once they turn 18, they lose the right to receive an amount for child support; however, this is not so.
Article 173, subsection 5 of the Family Code establishes that, if the child is of legal age but under twenty-five years old, studies with a reasonable academic load and obtains good grades, he/she has the right to continue receiving or to request alimony from the father or mother. It also indicates that the person of legal age can be a beneficiary for alimony, if he / she has not finished his/her studies to acquire a profession or occupation trade, but this right cannot go beyond the age of twenty-five.
It is important to mention that, when the children reach eighteen years old, the parent obligated to pay alimony is not exonerated ex officio from the payment of said amount; if he/she wants to break free from this responsibility, first, he/she must present before the respective Court a beneficiary exclusion incidentin case of paying child support to more than one child; or else, an exoneration incident, in case of paying alimony to only one beneficiary. Child support does not automatically disappear when the beneficiaries reach eighteen years of age; it is the defendant’s obligation to manage the exclusion incident or exoneration incident, as the case may be.
Changes in the child support process once the beneficiary turns eighteen
Here are changes in the alimony process when the beneficiary reaches legal age and these must be considered, as they are of vital importance. When the beneficiary reaches the age of eighteen, he/she is able responsible for its own acts and with that, the father or the mother of the beneficiary is no longer the representative. The beneficiary must inform the respective Court that he/she wants to continue receiving alimony and will be responsible for withdrawing the money and carrying out any side-process that the main process requires. Only in special cases, such as when it is proven that the beneficiary has a disability, is that a representative for the child is allowed after the age of eighteen.
Reasonable academic load
As mentioned above, one of the assumptions for a person of legal age to continue receiving alimony is that he/she has good grades and that he/she has a reasonable academic load appropriate for his/her age. This situation is at the discretion of the Judge, since there is no definition in our legal system of what a reasonable academic burden is. Judges have received the discretionary obligation to decide the content of these legal concepts. The Judge is obliged to make an evaluative judgment between the effort that the beneficiary must develop in his/her studies, as well as the amount and difficulty of the subjects, his age, his learning conditions, possible learning limitations, and any other external element that allows to establish that the load and the results obtained in the studies, are acceptable to continue receiving alimony.
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