Receiving a financial contribution from the other parent to contribute to child-related expenses

Even when separated, parents have to continue to contribute to the costs associated with their children. A judge may ask one parent to pay an amount to the other parent known as a child education and maintenance allowance or “contribution à l’entretien et à l’éducation de l’enfant”, also referred to as “pension alimentaire”.

Verified by Maître Elodie Ramos on 30/05/2022

How does it work?

In the event of separation, one of the parents may have to pay a sum of money to the other parent. This is known as a child education and maintenance allowance or “contribution à l’entretien et à l’éducation de l’enfant”, also referred to as “pension alimentaire”. 

This is particularly the case if: 

  • the children mainly live in the home of one parent, their “résidence habituelle
  • one of the parents has a less favourable financial situation.

How do I receive it?

The decision to put in place a “contribution à l’entretien et à l’éducation de l’enfant”, also known as a “pension alimentaire”, is made when child custody arrangements or “modalités d’exercice de l’autorité parentale” are put in place. Child custody arrangements are explained on this page.

  • The amount of the “contribution à l’entretien et à l’éducation de l’enfant” largely depends on the financial situation of each parent. It is set according to:

    • your income and expenses 
    • the other parent’s income and expenses
    • your child’s needs.

    The amount may be very different from what you would have received in your home country. To get an idea of how much you could receive, you can run a simulation

    Payment of the “contribution à l’entretien et à l’éducation de l’enfant” will normally continue until the children have acquired financial independence, even after they reached the legal adult age (usually at 18 in France) unless decided otherwise by the judge.

    The amount can be reviewed at any time if the parents’ situation changes. In this case, you can make an application to the “Juge aux affaires familiales” via your lawyer.

  • The “pension alimentaire” can be paid in different forms: 

    • In most cases, it is a sum of money that is paid every month.
    • In some cases, it can take other forms, such as direct payment of costs incurred for your children.

    In general, this financial contribution is paid from a date set by the “Juge aux affaires familiales” in the judgment which also sets the child custody arrangements known as “modalités d’exercice de l’autorité parentale”.

    Since March 2022, payments of “pension alimentaire” fixed by a judge are now processed automatically by the national agency in charge of “pension alimentaire” called “l’Agence de recouvrement et d’intermédiation des pensions alimentaires (Aripa)”, unless both parents do not want this. The process is:

    • The judge sends his decision directly to “Aripa”.
    • Every month, the agency collects the amount from the parent who pays the maintenance allowance, called the "débiteur", then transfers it to the parent who receives the maintenance allowance, called the "créancier".
  • If your ex-partner does not pay you the maintenance allowance that has been set, there are solutions.

    If the payment of the maintenance allowance is processed “Aripa”:

    • in the event of non-payment and from the first month default, “Aripa” initiates recovery action with the “débiteur”;
    • while waiting to recover the amount due, “Aripa” will pay you financial assistance called “allocation de soutien familial”.

Find support

In France, there are many services that can support you, give you advice, and assist you with procedures and paperwork. Most of them are free of charge.

  • The centres called “point-justice” bring together various organisations that give you legal advice depending on your situation, and sometimes help you with your administrative procedures. 

    • These services are free of charge.
    • These centres have many names: “Maison de Justice et du Droit (MJD)”, “Point d’accès au droit (PAD)”, "Relais d’accès au droit (RAD)”, “Antenne de justice (AJ)” or  “France services (FS)”. 
    • Languages available: mainly French.
    • You can find a “point-justice” near you :
      • on this online directory.
      • by telephone on 3039 from mainland France and on +33 9 70 82 31 90 from overseas. They will ask you for your postal code and put you in touch with a “point-justice”. Languages available: mainly French.
  • The “Centres d'Information sur les Droits des Femmes et des Familles (CIDFF)” helps the general public, especially women, in many areas such as: legal rights, health, employment searches, training, business creation, and even childcare.

    • These services are free of charge.
    • They will be able to inform you of your rights and the steps to take. Some centres can  assist you with procedures and paperwork.
    • Languages available: mainly French.

    Contact: you will find the contact details of the “CIDFF” in your area in this directory.

While the utmost care has gone into providing you with the most accurate and up to date information, this page is not intended to replace legal or professional advice. Laws and procedures change regularly so it is important to consult qualified professionals.

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