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Alimony Debts Skyrocket: Unpaid Benefits Approach PLN 15 Billion

FINANCEAlimony Debts Skyrocket: Unpaid Benefits Approach PLN 15 Billion

Alimony arrears are hitting new records. According to data collected in the BIG InfoMonitor Debtors Register, the amount of unpaid benefits approached PLN 15 billion at the end of November. The group of non-paying parents has grown by 10,000 people over a year to almost 290,000. This is just one part of a grim reality. Unfortunately, irresponsible parents also fail in other areas. Only a few, in exchange for unpaid alimony (10 percent), offer care. Similarly, few are also ready to give their child a Christmas gift.

There are many opportunities to give children gifts throughout the year, but alimony debtors rarely use them, as they’re not particularly inclined to maintain contact with their offspring. Only every tenth parent who consistently avoids paying alimony shows interest in their children. This many, among others, declare their commitment to care in exchange for unpaid alimony, but even fewer follow through – as shown by a survey conducted on social media by BIG InfoMonitor in cooperation with the For Our Children Association. Child support debtors mainly remember to give gifts on Christmas, Children’s Day, and birthdays. Ultimately, few (about 7 percent) decide to buy a gift, meaning that, at best, only every 10th child will get a Christmas gift from a parent who does not contribute to their upbringing. This is far too little for children without alimony to feel the true magic of Christmas. Considering estimates that in Poland about 1 million children are brought up without financial support from one parent, about 900,000 of them will not see a Christmas gift from their absent father or mother.

Nearly PLN 52 thousand is owed by one parent

According to the BIG InfoMonitor Debtors Register data, at the end of November, almost 289,000 individuals required to pay alimony did not, with 96 percent of them being fathers. There were 9,957 new debtors over the year. The amount of alimony arrears increased by PLN 1.6 billion to approach PLN 15 billion, hitting a new record. On average, each alimony debtor owes PLN 51,845 – PLN 3,779 more than a year ago. One reason for the increase is that details of alimony debtors’ arrears are no longer removed from the Economic Information Bureaus after 6 years from their creation, but only after the debt to the State Treasury has been repaid.

Unfortunately, the information in our register represents only a portion of the grim reality. Mainly, people reported by communities for having their child benefit paid by the Alimony Fund end up in BIG. But not every parent deprived of alimony from the child’s father or mother can benefit from this Fund because access to state aid is limited by the income threshold. If it weren’t for this, the full extent of the phenomenon would be seen in the BIG registers, and fewer children would live in difficult financial circumstances – says Sławomir Grzelczak, President of BIG InfoMonitor.

Most alimony debt is in Mazowieckie province, where arrears already amount to almost PLN 2 billion. Here, the average amount of unpaid benefits per person is the highest, almost PLN 59,000. Alimony debts on Silesia have exceeded PLN 1.6 billion. There is more than PLN 1.2 billion each in Pomerania and Lower Silesia, and over PLN 1.1 billion in Greater Poland and Kujavian-Pomeranian provinces. There are almost 36,000 debtors in Silesia, which is notable for having the largest number of debtors.

Statistically, for every 100 adults in a province, the most alimony debtors are in Warminsko-Mazurskie, Lubuskie, Pomerania, and Kujavian-Pomeranian regions. The situation looks relatively best in this respect in Podkarpackie and Malopolska.

The survey was conducted in cooperation with the For Our Children Association on FB profiles, on a sample of 338 people raising a child or children alone, who were awarded alimony, in August 2023.

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