Parliament passed a bill which will make life more uncomfortable for parents who don't pay alimony, giving authorities powers to suspend driver's licenses, as well as hunting, boating, weapons and fishing licenses.
The amendments mean parents with an alimony debt of over three months could be stripped of the right to engage in the above activities, and will not be able to apply for the permits either.
Other changes have also been approved, such as extending the window claiming alimony from three years to 10, and disqualifying deadbeat parents from getting private forest owner grants and business start-up support. Non-financial benefits will now also be taken into consideration by court bailiffs when assessing a parent's income.
Court bailiffs can now also seize assets paid to third parties in income avoidance schemes.
Estonia has about 10,000 parents who have alimony debts, totaling 10 million euros in unpaid child support each year.
The amendments are one half of new measures aimed at combating the problem, which currently means a great number of single parents are left to carry the financial burden of raising children alone. The other measure, yet to be approved, but openly backed by three of the four Parliament parties, could see the creation of a state alimony fund, which will pay out the monthly sum, currently a minimum of 195 euros per child per month, for parents who have missed payments, with the state itself taking on the responsibility of tracking down the deadbeat parents.
Editor: J.M. Laats