According to Article 3 and 3B of the Civil Code, Chapter 16 of the Laws of Malta, the parents are bound to take on the significant responsibility not only of supporting each other but also to support their children.
According to Article 19 of the Civil Code, “maintenance” is defined as including “food, clothing, health and habitation,” as well as “pertaining to children, expenses relating to health and education.” According to Article 5(2) of the Civil Code, when both the children and the spouse need to be supported, they shall each be placed in an equal position. According to Article 6 of the Civil Code, a spouse is not required to continue paying maintenance to the other spouse if the latter has abandoned the matrimonial residence for no good reason.
The amount of maintenance that is owed is determined by taking into account both the financial situation of the person who is claiming maintenance and the financial situation of the person who is obligated to provide maintenance. When determining whether or not a claimant can provide for his or her own support, it is necessary to take into account the claimant’s capacity to engage in his or her chosen profession, art, or trade. According to the law, the value of any moveable or immovable property owned by the person claiming support must also be taken into consideration when calculating their available financial resources.
The obligation of support towards the children emanates from Article 157 of the Civil Code, parents have a legal responsibility to provide for their minor children until those children attain the age of majority. Under Maltese law, the age of majority is that of 18 years of age.
Amendments to the Civil Code made it clear that parents are legally required to continue giving reasonable financial support for their children, always in proportion to the parents’ abilities:
- till the age of 23, provided the individual is enrolled in an education or training program that requires full-time attendance, or if the person has a disability, as defined by the Equal Opportunities (Persons with handicap) Act, or
- Till the age of majority if the individual is not enrolled in an education or training program requiring full-time attendance. However, young people are legally allowed to begin working at the age of sixteen; hence, if the young person is capable of taking care of him or herself adequately, then the young person may not require maintenance in certain circumstances.
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