The Legal Framework for Alimony and Child Support in Costa Rica

  • Explanation of Costa Rican laws and regulations regarding alimony and child support.
  • Mention the lack of a mathematical formula for determining these payments.
  • Reference to Costa Rica’s official immigration website (

Misconceptions about Alimony and Child Support in Costa Rica

  • Discussion of common misconceptions, such as the belief that these payments are “set in stone.”
  • Explanation of the flexibility and variability of these payments.

Set In Stone

Many people in Costa Rica believe that Alimony and Child Support payments are “set in stone.” This is far from the true reality. To determine the judgment payment in such cases, authorities must analyze each case with a basic recognition in mind, Necessity versus Possibility. When alimony and child support judgments are set, a delicate balance must be reached between the involved parties. The final judgment considers the needs of the beneficiary, their living conditions, and finally, the financial possibilities of the “Obligor.” Sometimes, a judge will decide to set the judgment to maintain the current lifestyle of the beneficiary without considering the financial situation of the person that has to pay.

Payments Can Change

Alimony and/or child support payments are not set in stone once a judgment has been reached. The Alimony and Child Support Act (Ley de Pensiones Alimentarias) makes it possible to change payment amounts when either the payee or beneficiary’s financial possibilities necessitate an increase or reduction of the payment amount. The party, beneficiary, or payee requesting the change can file for a proceeding called “incidente de aumento o rebajo de pensión alimentaria,” seeking a different award amount. The action may be requested by one spouse for another, for a minor or disabled child for their parents, and by parents or grandparents for adult children or grandchildren or vice versa, within the family court. To request an increase in the amount of a benefit, it is mandatory to demonstrate proof of circumstances that imply a need for a larger amount of support because the needs of the beneficiary have changed or because the income and life status of the payee has improved. To request a reduction in the benefit amount, it is required to demonstrate a change of the circumstances that imply a decreased possibility of providing for the dependent(s).

Stopping Payments

There are some situations, allowed by law, by which judgment payments are eliminated: 1) The termination or forced loss of a job; 2) Economic losses; 3) The minor child reaches 18 years of age (unless they are regular students, in which case they are covered until age 25); 4) An illness or serious injuries. If you need assistance regarding Costa Rican Alimony or Child Support issues, don’t hesitate to contact us, and we will gladly put you in contact with one of our experienced lawyers.


Understanding Alimony and Child Support in Costa Rica requires a deep understanding of the country’s unique legal framework. It’s important to dispel misconceptions and understand that these payments are not fixed but rather flexible and subject to change based on various factors. You can navigate these complexities with professional assistance with confidence and peace of mind.

-Written by Glenn Tellier (Founder of CRIE and Grupo Gap).

[email protected]


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Frequently Asked Questions

Is there alimony in Costa Rica?

Yes, alimony is a legal obligation in Costa Rica. The amount is determined on a case-by-case basis, considering various factors.

How does alimony affect child support in Florida?

In Florida, alimony and child support are separate obligations. Alimony does not directly affect child support calculations.

What is the amount of child maintenance after divorce in India?

In India, child maintenance is determined by the court based on the child’s needs and the parents’ financial capabilities.

How much is child support in Costa Rica?

In Costa Rica, child support is determined on a case-by-case basis. For more information, consult with CRIE.

Is there a way around alimony?

Alimony is a legal obligation. However, the amount and duration can sometimes be negotiated or modified.

How much alimony does a wife get in the USA?

In the USA, alimony is determined by various factors, including the length of the marriage and the financial situation of both parties.

How long must you be married to get alimony in the US?

The length of the marriage can affect alimony in the US, but there is no set rule. It varies by state and individual circumstances.

What is common law marriage in Costa Rica?

Common law marriage, or “union de hecho,” is recognized in Costa Rica. It grants many of the same rights as a formal marriage.

Can a working wife get alimony in the USA?

Yes, a working wife can potentially receive alimony in the USA, depending on various factors including her income and the income of her spouse.

Who gets the most alimony?

The spouse with the lower income typically receives alimony, but the amount varies based on numerous factors.

Who receives the most alimony?

The spouse with the lower income typically receives alimony, but the amount varies based on numerous factors.



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