You don’t have to support an eternal student if their education lacks purpose


This comes up quite frequently in practice: the child is over 18 but shows little interest in their education. They've changed schools twice, don't want to get a job, their grades are below average and they are quite content to live comfortably on their parents' money. What are your options as a parent? Where is the standard cut-off for preparing for future occupation and when should you file a motion to decrease support or cancel support?


Generally speaking, in order for children to be able to support themselves and meet their own needs, they require a cohesive education that will secure them a place on the job market. Until that time support, including financial support, is primarily up to the parents. For intact families this is usually assumed, but not always for divorced parents where one parent is paying child support.

According to the Civil Code, a child's standard of living should be essentially the same as the parents', and child support payments can be ordered whenever children are not able to support themselves. We must correct a frequent misconception, however, that parents are required to support their children only until the age of 26. This is not actually the case.

Parents are required to support their children until the children are able to support themselves, which is not dependent on the child's age. Parents are required to support their disabled children, for instance, for the children's entire lives, since they will never be able to support themselves.

The concept "able to support oneself" is not defined in the law, so it is up to the courts to define it, and Czech courts have consistently ruled that children are able to support themselves when they are able to independently meet all their own needs: material, cultural and other, including accommodation. In other words, children need a steady income to meet their needs. Every case needs individual assessment, of course, since sometimes children may not be able to support themselves even though they have a job (short-term or part-time employment, etc.).

Eternal students

The requirement to support adult children must never be in conflict with good morals, which is often a deciding factor for "eternal students." The first reason for this is that these students are often legally adults (whether in secondary school or university), meaning the logical assumption is that they will use their studies to prepare properly and effectively for their future careers so they will be able to cover their own financial needs. The second reason is that while parents are legally required to support their children, the children's studies must be effective and purposeful; in other words, an assessment must be made of whether the studies are truly leading to the desired goal and not a mere formality.


Of course, parents should be required to support their children. This requirement should not be without limits, however, and adult children must make sufficient efforts to live without financial dependence on their parents. If children neglect their studies, deliberately prolong them, frequently change fields of study and circumstances indicate they are merely pretending to study in order to continue financial support, parents can file a motion in court to decrease or cancel the required support. As always, the results will depend on the individual circumstances of the case.