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Food obligation in Colombia


Child support is an unwaivable right, regulated in the Colombian Civil Code in articles 411 to 427, and in the Childhood and Adolescence Code in articles 111 and 129. The procedure is regulated in 397 of the General Procedural Code.
Maintenance is defined as a benefit of an economic nature to be given by one person in favor of another who needs it. Hence, food is based on the principles of solidarity, family relief and the duty of gratitude.
According to the Childhood and Adolescence Code, food includes: housing, health, education, clothing, recreation. Thus, when regulating this economic benefit, all these elements must be covered, since the provider must supply all these basic concepts for the life of the beneficiary.
When it is said that alimony is a benefit of an economic nature, reference is made to the maintenance allowance, which, as a general rule, is paid in money, in cash. Exceptionally, part of the payment of food in kind is allowed, but not all of it.

Requirements to be able to speak of a maintenance obligation

There must be a triangular relationship made up of three parties: feeder, feeder, legal relationship (title).
1. Feeder: the person who is obliged to pay the maintenance. It is always the taxpayer who is obliged to provide food for the person in need. It is not enough to have the quality of the feeder, because it is necessary to evaluate the economic capacity of the feeder.
2. Alimentary: is the person who will benefit from the payment of food, who receives it. This is a qualified subject, as it requires having the need to receive food.
Consequently, it is not enough to have the quality of being a feeder or provider; it is necessary to prove the need on the part of the feeder and the economic capacity on the part of the provider.
Legal relationship or title: this is derived from article 411 of the Civil Code, which indicates who are the parties obliged to pay alimony and simultaneously to whom alimony is owed.

Food is due to:

Spouse: while married, or divorced, or separated, in the last two cases are alimony.
Permanent partner: those who live together in a common-law marital union, as long as such union is in force. The aforementioned by virtue of Ruling C-1033 of 2002.
Descendants: matrimonial, extramarital or adopted children.
Ascendants: matrimonial, extramarital or adoptive parents.
To the one who was the donor of the feeder: who in a moment of economic capacity decides to donate a large amount in favor of the feeder.
Legitimate siblings: double-conjunction siblings, i.e., no maintenance is owed to half siblings.
It is important to point out that, to all these food providers except siblings, congruent food is owed, that is, food that enables the food provider to subsist modestly according to his or her social position. Whereas the brothers are owed only necessary food, that which is sufficient to sustain life.
The question that arises is: until when must food be paid?
The answer to this question must begin by specifying that alimony is one of those family matters that do not become res judicata, since they are subject to review in the event that the conditions of both the feeder and the beneficiary change. In this order of ideas it is concluded that the alimony must be paid until the circumstance that gave rise to the fixing of the same persists, that is to say, the feeder has the need and the beneficiary has the economic capacity.
Written by: Alejandra Cardona Mercado.

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