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If a person can be proven in court to be solely or predominantly to blame for the breakdown of the marriage, this can have unpleasant financial consequences for that person. Far less well known is the fact that marital misconduct, to put it bluntly, also has a certain expiry date.
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As information on the Red-White-Red Card (“RWR Card”) remains in high demand, in this article I would like to highlight the most important changes announced by the Austrian government in February 2019. You still have to wait for the implementation.
Dawdling students: Child’s maintenance forever?

In many families, child maintenance or child support is a topic of conflict. There are often difficulties in reaching an agreement between the parents when it comes to the specific assessment of the monetary maintenance from the parent who is not the main carer. A common misconception is that child maintenance is only owed until the child’s 18th birthday. However, this is not correct. In principle, parents are obliged to pay maintenance until the children are capable of supporting themselves. To put it simply, a person is able to support himself or herself if he or she is able to support himself or herself through his or her own efforts (income, assets). This usually means having a job. If the child marries, the spouse is generally liable for maintenance. If the child enters into a partnership, the parents are exempt (only) if the child actually receives maintenance payments from the partner. But what about children who want to study? And what about so-called dawdling students?

 

Legal situation about child support for dawdling students

Do parents have to finance their kids while college? In principle, yes. Whether the parents studied themselves is not the decisive criterion. However, the parents’ overall personal life situation, such as current income, and their general financial and professional situation, do play a role. If the child fulfils the requirements for studying (high school diploma) and if studying also corresponds to the living conditions of a person obliged to pay maintenance, the child’s ability to support himself/herself is postponed for the average duration of the studies. It does not matter whether the child did well or badly at school. In principle, parents must therefore also finance the children’s studies, or continue to ay during their studies. However, it must be financially and economically reasonable for the parents to support their children. The parents cannot dictate which course of study the child  should pursue. If a child does not start studying directly after high school, this does not automatically mean that he or she loses the right to maintenance. Furthermore, children are allowed to change their mind about their chosen studies and to change studies after a reasonable period of time. A first change after only a short time (e.g. in the first year of college) will not lead to a lapse of the obligation to pay maintenance. After a successful Bachelor’s degree, maintenance is often still due for a subsequent Master’s degree. If the child is extraordinarily successful in his or her studies, the parents may even have to remain financially available for doctoral studies.

Do both parents have to pay?

In the case of parents who live separately, the one who looks after the child in his or her household already provides  maintenance by that. This means, that in the case of students, it also depends on where the child lives. In the case of children studying away from home, only partial care by one parent may be sufficient under certain circumstances, if it is regularly provided at certain remaining times, such as weekends. The other parent is obliged to pay maintenance. If, however, the child lives entirely in self-care, i.e. lives in a different city and looks after himself/herself completely, both parents must pay money maintenance in proportion to their respective ability to pay.

What if the children are a bad, dawdling students?

College must be pursued seriously and with determination. So the concept is not to sponsor students for years who only appear sporadically at the university. The average duration of studies (not the shortest possible duration) is regularly relevant. In order to assess whether someone is seriously and purposefully pursuing his or her studies, study plans and regular study time as well as completed ECTS are usually evaluated. Planned study sections are also included in the evaluation. There should not be long periods of student inactivity. However, it is a case-by-case consideration, for which there are no rigid limits. Special reasons (e.g. illness) can also justify a longer duration of study. In addition, one will be a little more generous if the child is forced to pursue a second job.

What about students’ own income?

In principle, students’ own income reduces their maintenance claim against their parents. The situation is different, however, in the case of short-term temporary employment. In addition, parents cannot usually require their children to pursue a part-time job alongside their studies.

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