Child support in Sweden

Børnebidrag i Sverige
Child support (underhållsbidrag), maintenance support (underhållsstöd), and what applies when the person who is liable to pay child support lives abroad.

Parents are obligated to support their children until their 18th birthday. If the children still attend school, the parents are obligated to support them until their 21st birthday.

If a child’s parents do not live together, the parent who does not look after the child is liable to pay child support to the parent who does look after the child.

Child support

If the child spends equal amounts of time with each parent, no child support (underhållsbidrag) is paid. The obligation to support the child is satisfied because the child spends equal amounts of time with each parent.

If a child lives with only one of the parents, the other parent is liable to pay child support. As parents, you can make an agreement on child support, but if you cannot reach agreement, the child support can be decided by a court.

You live in Sweden and the parent liable to pay child support lives in another country

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency (Försäkringskassan) cannot influence the processing of a case in another country, but can help to compile the necessary documents and send an application to the agency in the other country. When the documents have been received, the agency in the other country is responsible for recovery of the child support.

You live abroad and the parent liable to pay child support lives in Sweden

Contact the agency responsible in the country in which you live, and ask the agency to help you to apply for recovery of child support. The agency  in your country of residence then sends an application for recovery to the Swedish Enforcement Authority (Kronofogden). The agency’s decision applies throughout the Nordic region, so the Swedish Enforcement Authority can recover child support on behalf of the agencies in the other Nordic countries.

You live or have income abroad and you are liable to pay child support

If you live abroad or have income in another country, and you are liable to pay child support, and the other parent receives maintenance support from Försäkringskassan, you must pay the child support to Försäkringskassan instead of paying it to the other parent.

The parent liable to pay child support lives abroad and does not pay child support

If you are entitled to child support, you can be helped to recover child support from the other parent if they live in another Nordic country.

If you are entitled to child support and do not receive maintenance support from Försäkringskassan, Försäkringskassan cannot help you to recover child support in another Nordic country. In such cases, contact the Swedish Enforcement Authority.

If the parent who is liable to pay child support to you lives outside the Nordic region, contact Försäkringskassan regardless of whether Försäkringskassan pays you maintenance support.

You are liable to pay child support but have difficulty in paying

If you have agreed on the amount of the child support, you can make an agreement with Försäkringskassan on a payment plan, or you can also apply for the debt to be cancelled. It is very rare that Försäkringskassan agrees to cancel a debt. In order for you to be given a payment plan or apply to have the debt cancelled, Försäkringskassan must be paying maintenance support to the other parent.

If Försäkringskassan does not pay maintenance support and the child support has been decided, the parent who is liable to pay child support must make a new agreement with the other parent on child support. The alternative is to refer the matter to the District Court and try to get the amount of child support adjusted in the court. If the debt regarding the child support is transferred to the Swedish Enforcement Authority for recovery, the parent who is liable to pay child support must contact the Swedish Enforcement Authority.

Maintenance support

    If one parent does not pay child support as agreed, the child is entitled to child support from the state. This is called maintenance support (underhållsstöd). It is a state support to children whose parents do not live together.

    The criteria for receiving maintenance support from Sweden are that the child, and the parent with whom the child lives, are resident in Sweden, that the other parent does not pay child support or does not pay the child support at the right time, and that the parent with whom the child lives is the legal guardian of the child.

    If Försäkringskassan pays maintenance support to one parent, the other parent must pay an amount to Försäkringskassan.

    If you are to reimburse Försäkringskassan for child support, and you are taxable in Sweden, Försäkringskassan decides the amount you must pay. This amount is decided on the basis of your income and the number of children for whom you must pay child support.

    If you are liable to pay maintenance support, but do not live or work in Sweden, Försäkringskassan cannot decide the amount you must pay. If the parents cannot agree on the amount of child support, Försäkringskassan instead requires that the parent who receives maintenance support (child support from the state) must help to decide the amount. You do this by sending documentation to Försäkringskassan, so that the maintenance support can be decided in the country where the parent who is liable to pay child support lives. You can also submit an agreement or documentation showing that a process to decide the amount of the child support in a court has been initiated. If you do not submit any documentation, the maintenance support will be withdrawn.

    What documentation must I send to prevent the maintenance support being withdrawn?

    The documentation you must submit to Försäkringskassan is an application, signed by you or your child of full age, and:

    • A copy of your latest tax return, or a certificate from the tax authority showing that you have had no income.
    • Salary slips from the past three months.
    • Documentation that proves the other financial information, or information on how you or your child of full age support yourselves.
    • If you receive some form of income support, this must be supported by documentation showing how much you have received in the past three months.
    • Documentation that shows housing expenses (rent, rental contract or similar).
    • Copy of court decision or agreement on visiting rights, if any.
    • A document that shows information about child care (for example, invoice for preschool).
    • A document that supports the study period for your child of full age.

    When you or your child of full age applies for maintenance support from Försäkringskassan, Försäkringskassan then sends information to you or your child about ways to decide the child support. Försäkringskassan will also inform you that, if you and your child want the agency in the other parent’s country of residence to decide the child support, you must send the above documentation.

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