Policy Document

Family Law Act






Family & Children



Main implications

The main aim of the 2010 Family Law Act of Estonia was to promote spouses taking responsibility for proprietary relations with each other. Changes to the act were made to better protect children from harm, and improve the family law system’s response to family violence and abuse.

Benefits & Requirements

Coverage: Eligible groups or beneficiaries

All married couples can get divorced.

Does this law grant the right to unilateral divorce?


Alimony orders established by this document: eligible beneficiary

Family Law Act establishes the obligations of spouses (men or/and women) after divorce.The maintenance can be demanded only if an officially registered marriage is divorced. There is no maintaining obligations after a separation of cohabiting partners, except obligations concerning provisions of maintenance in case of birth of the child.

Alimony orders established by this document: eligibility criteria

The father of a child is required to provide maintenance to the mother of the child eight weeks before and twelve weeks after the birth of the child. If a mother is unable to maintain herself due to a health disorder caused by pregnancy or childbirth, the father is required to provide maintenance to her until improvement of her state of health. The same applies if a mother is unable to receive income due to caring for a child. The obligation to provide maintenance commences not earlier than four months before the birth of a child and terminates after three years have passed from the birth of the child. A divorced spouse may request provision of maintenance from the other divorced spouse if he or she is unable to maintain himself or herself due to his or her age or state of health, in case the need of assistance existed at the time of divorce (in force from 09.07.2014).

Types of custody established by this document

The parent’s right of custody includes the right to care for the child and for the property of the child and decide on matters related to the child.

Visitation rights established by this document

In the case of legal separation of parents, the parents shall agree on acess of the separated parent to the child. In the case of a dispute between the parents, the procedure for acess of the parent to the child shall be determined at the request of a parent by the court (in force from 09.07.2014).

Child support: age of emancipation for child support

Child receives alimony (maintenance) until reaching the age of 18 years (21 in case of studying)

Child support: maximum percentage of parent's average net income

The monthly support payment for one child shall not be less than half of the minimum monthly wage established by the Government of the Republic. A court may order support as a fixed amount or as a variable amount by determining in advance the basis for the calculation of the amount of support.

Read the Law

Original full text source in native language

Riigi Teataja (State Gazette) RT I 2009, 60, 395

Original full text web source in native language


Secondary Literature & Sources

Links to databases and sources for the analysis or evaluation of this policy field

Statistics Estonia (2014). Statistical database. Marriages and divorces: http://www.pub.stat.ee/px-web.2001/Dialog/varval.asp.


Asta Põldma
Estonian Institute for Population Studies, Tallinn University

Data collected in the framework of the Population Europe Research Finder and Archive (PERFAR)

Cite as

SPLASH-db.eu (2014): Policy: "Family Law Act" (Information provided by Asta Põldma). Available at: https://splash-db.eu [Date of access].