In Sweden, both parents are obliged to support their children. The general rule is that parents are obliged to support their child until the child’s 18th birthday. If the child is in full-time education at secondary level, upper secondary level, or equivalent, parents are obliged to support them until the child’s 21st birthday.
If the child’s parents do not live together, for example because of a divorce, and the child lives with one of the parents, the other parent must pay child support or ensure that the child is supported in some other way. The child support amount is determined by the child’s needs and the financial position of the parents.
If the child spends approximately equal amounts of time with each parent, then neither of the parents needs to pay child support for the child. However, in some cases this may be reasonable, for example if one parent has a higher income than the other.
If the parents cannot agree on child support, or if the other parent is unable to pay, the parent with whom the child lives can apply to Försäkringskassan for child support.
What is child support?
Child support is money that one parent pays to the other if they do not live together.
In Sweden, child support is divided into child support (underhållsbidrag) and maintenance support (underhållsstöd).
The parent who does not live with the child must pay child support (underhållsbidrag) to the parent with whom the child lives. The child support is to be used for the child’s housing, food, and leisure interests.
The two parents must agree on the child support. There is a tool on the Försäkringskassan website where you can calculate an amount. You enter into a verbal or written agreement on the amount of child support. However, if you cannot reach agreement, the child support can be decided by a court.
The child support is to be paid in advance every month. When the child turns 18, the child support is paid straight to the child if they are still in full-time education at secondary, upper secondary level or equivalent. The child is entitled to child support until they turn 21. If the child has turned 18 and has left school, they are no longer entitled to child support.
When the child is 18, it is the child and the parent who is to pay the child support that sign the child support agreement.
Child support when the child lives with you
If you do not live together with the child’s other parent, and he or she cannot pay child support (underhållsbidrag), you can apply for maintenance support (underhållsstöd) from Försäkringskassan.
If you adopt a child alone or if you are a single woman who gave birth through intrauterine insemination (IUI), your child may be entitled to maintenance support (underhållsstöd).
Maintenance support (underhållsstöd) is a fixed amount that Försäkringskassan pays every month to the parent with whom the child lives permanently. The amount depends on the child’s age. The amounts are SEK 1573 up until the month the child turns 11, SEK 1723 until the month the child turns 15, and SEK 2073 from then on.
Försäkringskassan calculates how much the parent who does not live with the child must pay to Försäkringskassan. The amount depends on the parent’s income, but is never higher than the maintenance support (underhållsstödet).
If the parent is willing to pay the amount direct to the parent who lives with the child, Försäkringskassan can pay a supplementary allowance called a gap amount, so that the child receives the same amount as the child support (underhållsbidrag).
Maintenance support when the child does not live with you
If you and the other parent cannot agree on child support (underhållsbidrag), or you cannot pay, the parent with whom the child lives can apply for maintenance support (underhållsstöd) from Försäkringskassan.
You must then pay all or part of this amount to Försäkringskassan. If you are unable to pay your full monthly amount, you can apply to defer payments. Försäkringskassan will draw up a payment plan if they assess that you cannot pay.
In Sweden you cannot deduct against tax what you pay for your child’s upkeep.
If the parents live in two different countries
An agreement on child support made in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden is valid in the other Nordic countries, and a set amount can be enforced in another Nordic country.
You are obliged to pay child support (underhållsbidrag) for your child, even if the child lives or moves to and lives in a different country to the one you live in.
If you are obliged to pay child support and move to another country, you must still pay child support for your child.
If the payer and the recipient live in two different Nordic countries, the payer can choose whether the child support is set according to the regulations in the country in which the payer lives or in the country in which the recipient lives.
You can receive maintenance support (underhållsstöd) from Försäkringskassan even if the parent paying the support lives in a different country to Sweden.
However, if you are the recipient and move to Denmark, Finland, Iceland, or Norway, you cannot keep the maintenance support from Försäkringskassan. You must contact the equivalent of Försäkringskassan in the country to which you are moving to find out how to apply for the allowance in that country,
Who should you contact if you have questions?
If you have any questions about child support or maintenance support, contact Försäkringskassan, +46 (0)771 - 524 524.
In international situations involving child support between the Nordic countries, the Nordic Enforcement Convention governs all Nordic countries. In addition, the following conventions govern the collaboration between Sweden and the other Nordic countries in this area: The New York Convention (Denmark), the EU Maintenance Regulation (Finland), The Lugano Convention (Iceland), and The Hague Conventions and the Lugano Convention (Norway).
If you have any questions, please fill in our contact form.
NB! If you have questions regarding the processing of a specific case or application, or other personal matters, please contact the relevant authority directly.