The Estonian government approved a family benefits bill which will guarantee that any children with a parent not fulfilling their child support obligations will receive 100€ each in monthly support, which will in turn be billed to the non-paying parent. This support is set to go into effect beginning next year.
Minister of Social Protection Margus Tsahkna stated that currently one in four children in Estonia is being raised by a single parent. While most do receive child support from the noncustodial parent, 8,200 parents currently owe their children a total of nearly €15 million, an amount comparable to the annual budget of a city the size of Paide. The minister stressed, however, that regardless of any conflict between a child’s two parents, it is the child to whom the noncustodial parent owes support.
“This is not a new family or social benefit,” Tsahkna explained. “100€ is guaranteed during the litigation process as well, if it has not already been ordered, so that parents would be willing to brave taking the other parent to court at all.” He went on to explain that cases of non-payment of child support often involved problems with domestic violence, which meant that going to court demands courage from the parent seeking payment.
“The lives of those who owe support payments are going to get more difficult," Tsahkna believed. "It will be substantially easier to collect payments with the help of changes to the law that went into effect on March 1." The minister was confident that the state will be able to successfully collect the money owed by its debtors.
The state government has allocated €7.2 million of its national budget next year for the funding of this allowance.
Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik