Marriage imposes on the spouses the important duty to maintain each other and their children (Article 3 and 3B Civil Code). Maintenance is defined as including food, clothing, health and habitation and in regard to children expenses relating to health and education (Article 19, Civil Code). Where both the children and the spouse need to be maintained, they shall be in a position of equality (Article 5(2), Civil Code). However, a spouse is not obliged to continue providing maintenance to the other spouse if he or she has left the matrimonial home without a reasonable cause (Article 6, Civil Code).
The amount of maintenance to be due shall be taken in proportion to the want of the person claiming maintenance and the means of the person liable to supply maintenance. In due course of examining whether a claimant can provide for maintenance, regard shall be taken to his ability to exercise his profession, art or trade. In estimating the means of the person claiming maintenance
regard shall also be had to the value of any movable or immovable property possessed by (Article 20, Civil Code).
Maintenance towards the children
Generally speaking, parents are obliged to maintain their children until the age of majority, which they reach when they turn eighteen (Article 157, Civil Code).
In 2011 the Civil Code has been amended so as to provide that parents are obliged to continue providing adequate maintenance for their children (according to their means):
- until the age of 23, if the person are attending a full-time education or training, or
- if the person has a disability, whether mental or physical as defined by the Equal Opportunities (Persons with Disability) Act
(Article 3B, Civil Code).
Otherwise, parents are obliged to provide maintenance for their descendants until they reach the age of majority (eighteen years). However young persons are permitted to work at the age of sixteen, therefore in certain circumstances, the young person may not require maintenance if he or she can adequately take care of oneself.
Parents may refuse to maintain their children where the child refuses without a just cause to follow the directions of his parents in regards to his conduct or education. Similarly, they may also refuse maintenance where the young person refuses to live in the house the parents has appointed for habitation (Article 96 and 97, Civil Code).