Cape Verde Law Firm | Carla Monteiro & Associados - Alimony Between Spouses in Our Legal System


Tuesday, 07 Dec 2021

Alimony Between Spouses in Our Legal System

In our legal system, food is understood to be everything that is essential for sustenance, health, housing and clothing. In turn, the idea of food, also known as alimony, is linked to the relationship that obliges one person to provide the other with what is necessary to meet the basic needs and maintenance of the child’s survival.

What is alimony?

Alimony is the amount paid to a person – food, for the supply of their needs, namely, for their livelihood, health, housing and clothing. The obligation to provide food proves to be broader, comprising, then, in addition to the food itself, the satisfaction of other needs considered essential for life in society, and should also cover other costs, as deemed necessary in each case.

How is the monetary amount for the alimony fixed?

The measure of alimony is linked to the binomial possibility/need, which is why there is no predetermined amount or percentage for the payment of alimony.

The objective is to guarantee the payment of the costs necessary for the survival of the child who is entitled to receive the pension, without significantly harming the subsistence of the person providing it.

Can previously fixed alimony be changed?

If, after the maintenance of the alimony, there is an alteration in the fortune of either party, both of the payer and the recipient, the fixed alimony may change, provided that the obligee requests, according to the circumstances, exoneration, before the competent Court, the reduction or increase of the charge.

Who is responsible for providing alimony?

In our legal system, the following are bound to provide alimony: Spouses, ex-spouses, married couples, widowers, children (minors and adults who have not completed their professional or academic training, for a fact that is not attributable to them), parents, siblings, uncles in relation to minor nephews and stepfathers and stepmothers in relation to minor stepchildren who, at the time of the death of the parent, were in charge of the parent.

Since the article addresses the issue of maintenance due between spouses, the subject is immediately exposed.

Alimony due between spouses

The marriage celebrated under the terms of the Civil Code is one of the sources of family legal relationships, in addition to generating a marital status which is the state of married, with the celebration of the marriage, the spouses become holders of reciprocal rights and duties, namely, obligation of respect, fidelity, cohabitation, cooperation and assistance.

It is in view of the duty of assistance that spouses are obliged to contribute to the burdens of family life and provide maintenance for each other.

In this sense, our Civil Code stipulates that during the conjugal partnership, the spouses are reciprocally obligated to provide maintenance and that the duty of assistance obliges the spouses to provide maintenance to each other.

In fact, it is essential to distinguish the maintenance obligation imposed on both spouses with the maintenance obligation generally regulated in articles 1935 et seq. of the Civil Code, as the rules are different.

The reciprocal marital duty of maintenance derives directly and indirectly from the marriage and does not imply any prior agreement or litigious precedent, while the maintenance obligation regulated in articles 1935 and following of the Civil Code is the result of an agreement between the parties or a court decision.

Cape Verde Law Firm | Carla Monteiro & Associados - Alimony Between Spouses in Our Legal System

How long must alimony support be paid?

Spouses are reciprocally obliged to provide alimony while they are married.

However, even with the separation from the marital society, any of the ex-spouses may be entitled to alimony, and in this case, there is no time limit for receiving alimony. The right to receive the pension will be temporary and will last as long as necessary for the person to develop professionally and revert the condition of need. The rationale for the payment of the benefit is that it should be transitory, and should be carried out as long as there is a need for the receiving party and the possibility of the paying party.

What happens when the obligated spouse fails to pay alimony?

Failure to comply with the obligation to provide maintenance is a crime under article 284 of the Penal Code, which provides that whoever is obliged to provide maintenance and fails to comply with the obligation effectively endangering the satisfaction of the fundamental needs of the alimony person, shall be punishable by imprisonment of up to 2 years or with a fine of 60 to 150 days.

Likewise, the same penalty incurs whoever, with the intention of not providing alimony, is unable to do so, creating the danger provided for in the previous number.

When does the obligation to provide alimony cease?

Since the obligation to provide alimony is not ad eternum, it ceases whenever one of the following situations occurs: with the death of the obligee or alimony person; When the one who provides them is no longer able to continue providing them or the one who receives them no longer needs them; When feeding the child seriously violates his/her duties towards the obligee, his/her spouse or cohabitant, descendant or ascendants; When the situation of need of the alimony is due to reprehensible conduct; When any other cause that determined it ceases;

Likewise, the right to food ceases if the fed remarries, starts to live in concubinage or de facto union with another person, or becomes unworthy of the benefit due to their moral behavior.

In short, while the marriage is pending, the duty to provide maintenance as part of the conjugal duty of assistance arises directly from the legal effects of the marriage bond, which is enshrined in our legal system.

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