Maintenance: entitlement – calculation

Who is entitled to maintenance when and why?

Maintenance law is a wide field. Most people think of child support, but also separation and spouse support. The punishable violation of maintenance obligations often plays a role here. Maintenance issues are also relevant when children have to entertain their parents. The maintenance right of the civil code looks for the Balance between the moral duty of relatives, to stand up for each other and the right not to neglect your lifestyle. Only when the maintenance obligation among relatives does not apply, can responsibility be transferred to society and public social benefits made use of. In this respect, maintenance law can be an exciting subject. Understanding them requires, familiarize yourself with the main principles of maintenance law. We show you in 20 facts on what you should know.

What are the main keywords in maintenance law?

If maintenance is a topic for you, the focus is usually on certain keywords:

  • Kinship in a straight line, blood kinship
  • Child Support
  • Advance on maintenance payments from the youth welfare office
  • Simplified child maintenance claim procedure
  • Dusseldorf table
  • Privileged child
  • Entitlement to maintenance child of legal age
  • Maintenance violation and its punishability
  • Adjusted net income
  • Separation Maintenance
  • Spousal support
  • Need of the dependent person
  • Efficiency of the person subject to maintenance
  • Ranking of multiple dependents
  • Maintenance agreements
  • Maintenance waiver
  • Maintenance recourse
  • Maintenance Calculator

Table of Contents

When do maintenance obligations arise??

Legal maintenance obligations

Consists a personal relationship between two people, the law establishes maintenance obligations: …

  • between spouses during marriage
  • between registered life partners during the partnership
  • between spouses and life partners after the separation
  • between spouses and life partners after Sche >

Contractual maintenance obligations

Maintenance claims can also based on contractual agreement arise, for example, between the partners of a non-marital cohabitation or between the step-parent part to the partner’s non-adopted child. The maintenance obligation is often justified due to factual behavior, when one partner maintains the other for a longer period and it can be concluded from the mutual behavior that one wants to entertain the other and thereby creates a kind of trust.

In a non-marital cohabitation, the partner looks after the household and the common child, while the other works for a living.

Current: heterologous insemination
An incapable man agrees that the woman not married to him with another man’s sperm artificially fertilized becomes. When the child is born, the man refuses to recognize paternity and to pay child support. The jurisprudence judges the Approval of heterologous insemination as one willful decision of the man. This results in a contractual agreement in favor of the child, which obliges the man like a legal father to care for the child (OLG Stuttgart FamRZ 2015, 514). In addition, the child is entitled to child support against the sperm donor, provided that the donor is identified as a legal father or acknowledges paternity. However, detailed questions still require judicial assessment.

How are maintenance claims made??

Maintenance proceedings before the family court

Maintenance claims that are not fulfilled voluntarily or in full to assert in court. They are responsible family courts as a subdivision of the district courts. The Law on Family Matters (FamFG) regulates details. Maintenance claims are no longer asserted as in the past, but through an “application”. There is also no longer a maintenance process, but rather a "maintenance procedure". About the application the judge decides not by judgment, but by "decision". Legally binding maintenance titles, in which a certain payment obligation is determined, are subject to the possibility of modification if the underlying actual or legal circumstances change significantly.

right to information

Relatives in a straight line are obliged to provide information about their income.

Relatives in a straight line are obliged to provide information about their income.

Anyone claiming maintenance depends on knowing the economic circumstances of the person liable for maintenance. That is why Relatives in a straight line are required to provide each other with information and must provide information about their income and assets insofar as this is necessary to determine maintenance claims. You must provide proof of income and a list of your income and expenditure and, to the best of your knowledge, swear to ensure their completeness and accuracy. In order to speed up and secure the provision of information, the legislator has granted the family court procedural powers to obtain the necessary information. If the person obliged to provide information refuses to provide information, the court can obtain information directly from employers, utilities and tax offices (§ 236 FamFG) and, in accordance with this information, condemn the maintenance person to maintenance.

Update the information

The person liable for maintenance must information every two years issue when requested. Before two years have passed, the obligation to provide information exists if the person entitled to maintenance provides evidence that the person who is obliged to provide information has earned considerably more or has acquired assets (Section 1605 (II) BGB).

What are straight-line relatives or blood relatives?

A legal maintenance obligation exists primarily for relatives in a straight line (§ 1601 BGB). You are blood relatives. Straight relatives are the People in the family who are descended from each other. These are: …

  • looks into the future, the parents, their children and grandchildren and
  • in the past considered the parents’ own parents, i.e. grandparents and great-grandparents.

Siblings, on the other hand, are only related to each other in the sidelines and therefore not legally obliged to maintain each other.

To what extent is the spouse obliged to support the partner?

The spouse of the dependent person is liable before their relatives (Section 1608 BGB). So as a spouse you are towards your spouse primarily maintenance. The maintenance obligation of your partner’s relatives only comes into consideration if you are not efficient yourself and cannot guarantee your own adequate maintenance. These are primarily the own children and the parents of the partner. Life partners are liable in the same way as spouses.

When do maintenance obligations expire??

Maintenance obligations expire with the Death of the beneficiary or that Death of the obligated. Insofar as maintenance can be requested for the past, the claim continues and is to be fulfilled by the heirs as a liability from the estate.

What are the be >

Maintenance obligations only exist if a person is in need of maintenance and the person who is claimed for the maintenance is capable.


It is unreasonable for the needy to meet their living needs through work.

It is unreasonable for the needy to meet their living needs through work.

It is neediness Inability to adequately maintain yourself (§ 1602 BGB). The person concerned cannot adequately meet his or her living needs neither from reasonable work nor from their property income nor from the reasonable utilization of their wealth of assets. Activities outside of the learned profession and previous life position are also expected. Also as far as a spouse underage children supervised, he is not released from the obligation to secure the maintenance as much as possible through his own employment, especially with regard to post-marital spousal maintenance.


Is powerful the relative who can provide maintenance without endangering his own reasonable maintenance (§ 1603 BGB). The performance is measured by what he achieves in terms of income, but also by what he contributes to reasonable use of his labor could achieve. Anyone who believes that he can get rid of his maintenance obligation by not working or working less than he could work must have fictitious income recognized. But you have to Means for your own reasonable maintenance remain. These funds are referred to as personal requirements or deductibles.

The maintenance debtor is also efficient if he realizable assets has. He only needs to attack the asset base (e.g. securities account, art collection) if it is impossible for him to sustain his own reasonable maintenance from the remaining assets. His interest in an adequate pension scheme must be taken into account. These principles apply above all to parental maintenance, in that an adult child is claimed by the providers of public social benefits because of the care costs of his frail parent.

What is the dependent person’s adjusted net income?

In order to quantify the maintenance claim, it depends on the so-called adjusted net income of the maintenance debtor. Gross income is adjusted by deducting certain financial obligations of the maintenance debtor. Gross income minus marriage-related obligations thus result in the adjusted net income. It is Basis for calculating the maintenance claim.

How is the adjusted net income calculated??

The starting point is gross income. For employees, this results from the employer’s pay slip; for self-employed persons, the tax returns or tax assessments or balance sheets of the past three years are decisive. The gross income is Deduct social security contributions and income taxes. Occupational expenses in the amount of 5% of the resulting net income, up to a maximum of EUR 150 / month, are also taken into account. Be considered too marriage-related liabilities, if, for example, the maintenance debtor pays the loan installments for the common house.

The difficult financial situation of many married couples becomes apparent at the latest after the divorce. Suddenly have to funded two households become. In formerly low wages it is particularly difficult to distribute existing income. In this respect, it is not really surprising that dependents do everything they can to reduce their income. They suddenly officially only work part-time, do whatever their hairdressing salaries do, and work black on the side. The self-employed calculate their balance sheets from black to red.

If it is about child support and applies for a parent Unterhaltsvorschussgesetz at the youth welfare office, he can Transfer responsibility to the youth welfare office. The youth welfare office will take the parent who is liable for maintenance into recourse. In view of empty state coffers, the municipalities are increasingly relying on researching the income situation and taking responsibility for the parent.

What do I need to know about child support?

During a marriage they are Parents are responsible for their children’s maintenance. This goes without saying when the parents separate.

Childcare support and cash maintenance

After separation and divorce, the parent who fulfills this Child cared for in his household, his maintenance obligation by giving the child Food and lodging granted. The other parent who does not look after the child pays child support. The Child support is to be paid in cash and can in principle not be replaced by other services.

What deductible is the dependent entitled to??

The parent who is subject to maintenance is entitled to a deductible (personal use). With that he should to be able to secure one’s existence and remain motivated to continue earning money for child support. The deductible is: …

  • In the case of non-employed maintenance persons: EUR / month
  • in the case of employed maintenance persons: EUR / month
  • for adult children: EUR.
  • Deductible: What must the maintenance debtor have at least left?

Dusseldorf table

The Düsseldorf table is designed to make child maintenance understandable. she will updated every two years and is currently in the version from 1.1. current. The table is used by all family courts. Differences arise at most insofar as the respective maintenance guidelines of the locally responsible higher regional court are to be included, which differ in details.

The child support according to the Düsseldorf table is based on what the dependent parent is adjusted net income achieved and the age of the child. The table is based on four age groups: 0 – 5 years, 6 – 11 years, 12 – 17 years and children over 18 years of age. Depending on this, the relevant amount of maintenance results from income levels 1 – 10. Half of the child benefit is allocated to each parent.

If the parent who is responsible for maintenance earns EUR 3,000 net, he pays EUR child support for his 4-year-old child. If he earns EUR 4,000, he pays EUR maintenance for his fifteen-year-old child. Düsseldorf table (status 1.1.)

What if the dependent parent does not pay child support?

Since 90 Percent of children Mainly living in the mother’s household, fathers in particular are maintenance sinners. Half of them should not meet their obligations at all and another quarter should not meet them sufficiently. However, the payment behavior of mothers who are dependent is not better. Maintenance is due to 85% (Source: German Institute for Economic Research 2014).

Which means claiming child support in the “simplified procedure”?

Legislators are trying to Enforcement of child maintenance claims thereby too accelerate and facilitate, that the law provides for a "simplified" procedure (§ 249 FamFG). The aim is to get the paying parent to raise objections immediately and to limit potential objections as far as possible. The family court can then determine the maintenance to be paid relatively quickly.

If you want to claim child support using the simplified procedure, you must have one Use the official form provided:…

What is the maintenance advance?

There is no child support, the state steps in and pays maintenance advance. You can pay the maintenance advance apply to the local youth welfare office. You have been receiving the maintenance advance for your child from 1 July 2017 to the age of 18 without limitation of the benefit period. There is a restriction insofar as you are only entitled to advance payment for children between the ages of 12 and 18 from a gross monthly income of EUR.

The amount of the advance on maintenance is determined by the Minimum Maintenance Regulation:…


Net income of the maintenance debtor percentage Bedarfskon-
troll amount
0 – 5 6-11 12-17 from 18
All amounts in euros

When are maintenance violations punishable??

To § 170 StGB the parent who is liable for maintenance becomes punishable if he endangers the child’s life needs. Prerequisite is deliberate behavior, that can manifest itself, for example, in the work task, moving to an unknown location, or in the persistent refusal to pay. To live up to the responsibility as a parent, the Maintainers are obliged to do everything they can to make money.

In practice, preliminary investigations are largely abandoned because it seems counterproductive to sentence the parent to a fine. This would deprive him of the opportunity to pay child support. The public prosecutor is happy to stop proceedings for first offenders, if the maintenance arrears are paid within one year. If the accused parent does not meet the conditions, the public prosecutor can bring charges. The judge will also temporarily suspend the proceedings if the parent who is liable for maintenance fulfills his maintenance obligations in a kind of probation period. In practice, there are only a few known cases in which prison terms have actually been served.

How is the maintenance obligation to be understood in the existing marriage?

Get married, take over too responsibility towards your partner. Everyone can expect the other to contribute to the adequate maintenance of the family through work and wealth. Housekeeping and childcare are expressly put on an equal footing with work. Everyone can decide for himself whether he runs the household or is employed. If only one spouse earns the money, he must give the other adequate economic and pocket money at his free disposal.

The other is not liable for liabilities that one spouse creates on their own responsibility. Co-liability is only considered for everyday business needs (§ 1357 BGB). Here the creditor can expect that both spouses will benefit from the business and be responsible accordingly.

You shop at the butcher and have a cover letter. The butcher can also request payment from your spouse. On the other hand, if you buy a car, it should no longer be a business of everyday necessities, since you are entering into commitments that go beyond everyday necessities.

Separation Maintenance

When am I entitled to maintenance maintenance??

Separate yourself from your spouse, you have for the period of your separation until divorce Entitlement to separation support if you earn less or do not have your own income. Legislators aim to ensure that because of the separation alone, you are not thrown into cold water overnight and suddenly have to take care of yourself.

The maintenance claims for separated life and after the divorce are not identical. If you have filed for separation support, the judicial judgment does not include support for the period after your divorce. After the divorce, if necessary, you have to file a new procedure and separately file for post-marital maintenance.

Be financially prepared so that in the transition period after your divorce you may not receive any maintenance payments and you will have to renegotiate the spousal maintenance and, if necessary, have it determined by a court.

How long am I entitled to maintenance maintenance??

Your right to maintenance separation ends at the latest on the day on which your divorce decree becomes final. After the divorce, you are entitled to spousal maintenance. You generally receive separation maintenance until the end of the first year of separation. Whether you can also demand separation support or have to make a living yourself depends on your life situation. Assessment criteria are:…

  • whether you are taking care of a toddler,
  • whether you are old, sick or frail,
  • whether your marriage was short or long,
  • what your financial situation was like during your marriage or
  • whether your professional qualification enables you to work without any problems.
  • How long does the separated spouse receive separation maintenance??

How high is the separation maintenance??

At least according to the law, you can request maintenance that is appropriate to your living conditions and your employment and financial situation (§ 1361 BGB). You cannot simply be referred to earning your living by gainful employment yourself, insofar as this cannot be expected according to your personal circumstances. In particular, housewives should be protected from having to work immediately when they separate.

The law forbids you to waive future maintenance during your separation (§ 1614 BGB). Even if you have given in to the pressure of your spouse and declared a waiver, your declaration remains legally ineffective. You can claim separation maintenance despite a possible waiver.

Your spouse earns EUR 3,250 net per month. You have 1,500 EUR net in your pocket and therefore 1,750 EUR less. The higher earning partner has to pay 3/7 of the difference as separation maintenance. For motivation to work, he is to be credited with 1/7 as an employment bonus. Your spouse is therefore entitled to 4/7 of EUR 1,750 = EUR 1,000. You will receive separation maintenance in the amount of 3/7 = EUR 750. This rough calculation can vary considerably in detail.

Spousal support

When am I entitled to spousal support??

After your divorce, you are responsible for yourself. You are only entitled to post-marital spousal maintenance if you claim marriage-related disadvantages, that make it unreasonable for you to make a living yourself.

What are marital disadvantages?

Marital disadvantages are based on your marriage and the related roles in your marriage. Without your marriage, these marriage-related disadvantages would not exist. The law defines marriage-related disadvantages in so-called maintenance circumstances.

Which maintenance items are considered?

Childcare support:

After a divorce, take care of an infant up to the age of about three years, you are entitled to spousal support. You cannot be expected to work. A restriction can arise if the child is accommodated in kindergarten.

Alimony maintenance:

Are you at an advanced age so that you no longer expected to work you are entitled to a maintenance allowance at the latest when you retire. The length of your marriage can also play a role here. The longer you were married, the less you are obliged to work.

Maintenance due to illness or infirmity:

If you are sick or frail so that you can no longer work fully or partially, you have Right to sickness maintenance.

Unemployment maintenance:

If you are registered as a job seeker, you have Entitlement to unemployment benefits until you have found a suitable job. It doesn’t matter whether you worked before or during your marriage. You only have to accept a decent job. This depends on age, education, previous activities, health status and personal skills. You may have to be referred to the fact that you are undergoing training, further education or retraining.

Increase maintenance:

If your income is not sufficient for full maintenance, you have Entitlement to top-up maintenance in the amount of the difference between your income and the full maintenance claim. The prerequisite is that the entitlement is more than 10% of your spouse’s adjusted net income.

Entitlement to maintenance during training, further training or retraining:

To redefine your place in life, you are primarily entitled to maintenance support if you:

  • have dropped out of vocational training before or during your marriage,
  • have failed to complete vocational training during your marriage, or
  • You want to continue training or retraining to compensate for marriage-related disadvantages.

Maintenance claim for reasons of equity:

A maintenance claim may also be considered for reasons of equity.

If your marriage was long, there may also be a maintenance claim for reasons of equity.

Even if none of the above maintenance conditions apply, you can have a maintenance claim for reasons of equity, if Your claim corresponds to equity. A typical case is that your marriage was long and lasted at least about 20 years. Then there are no direct marriage-related disadvantages. But the length of your marriage alone justifies your spouse paying maintenance.

How do I calculate my right to spousal support??

Spousal maintenance is essentially calculated according to the same principles as for separation maintenance. However, changes result from the fact that tax divisions and thus income levels change at the latest with the divorce.

When can entitlement to maintenance of separation and spouses be restricted or denied??

There are situations in which it would be unreasonable for a spouse to pay separation or spouse support. In this case, the family court can completely refuse, reduce or limit the claim (§ 1579 BGB). The following can be considered:…

  • You have deliberately caused your need (e.g. abandoned your job for no reason),
  • You have committed a crime against your spouse (e.g. attempted killing) or you have committed similarly serious misconduct,
  • You have deliberately affected your spouse’s serious financial interests (e.g., your common cash in the casino has been gambled away),
  • They live in a new solidified community,
  • Her childless marriage was short-lived (guideline about two years).

The ranking means that you primarily have to pay maintenance and your maintenance obligation towards the subordinate dependents is reduced accordingly. If you are unable to fully meet the claims of persons with equal rights (e.g. a minor child and a 20-year-old privileged child), you can reduce the maintenance amount owed proportionately.

When are children required to pay maintenance to parents??

The maintenance obligation also applies to the relationship between children and parents. Children are obliged to keep their parents entertained within the limits of their financial means, even if the contact has not existed for a long time. This maintenance problem becomes relevant in practice when a parent has to be accommodated in the home. First of all, the social welfare institution usually comes forward, which reclaims the costs from the children.

The jurisdiction grants the children an increased deductible of EUR 1,800 on income. Only half of the additional income has to be used for parental support. There is a deductible of EUR 3,240 for families. The child who is subject to maintenance does not have to use all of his / her assets to support the parents. He has a certain amount of savings for his own pension, as well as the property used for his own living purposes. Maintenance claims of one’s own children take precedence over the maintenance claims of the parents.

To what extent can I claim maintenance payments in my tax return??

If you make maintenance payments, you may make maintenance payments in your income tax return annually up to: …

  • EUR 13,805 as a special edition or alternatively up to
  • 8,004 EUR as an extraordinary burden

assert. In addition, you have to fill in Appendix U to the income tax return and have it signed by your ex-partner. Since your ex-partner has to tax maintenance payments as his own income, you are in turn obliged to reimburse him for all tax and economic disadvantages.


To what extent can I conclude maintenance agreements?

Maintenance processes that you carry out in court and let the judge decide can be lengthy. The reason is that you first have to rely on complete information from your spouse. If you have the feeling that your partner is disguising or even manipulating his income and financial situation, the result of many procedures is in the stars. A spouse or parent who is liable to pay must also expect to be sentenced to pay maintenance in an unexpected amount. In this respect, it can always be advantageous for both parties to document the maintenance obligation in a maintenance agreement. If you divorce, a so-called divorce agreement is available, in which a maintenance agreement can be made as a partial aspect. The legislator gives you extensive freedom. However, certain limits must be observed.

What do I have to consider with maintenance agreements??

Maintenance agreements that you commit out of court are useful if you divorce or divorce. They are often part of a separation or divorce settlement agreement.

  • You can only do without maintenance if you have past maintenance claims. Any waiver of future separation maintenance is legally ineffective.
  • Make sure that a regulation does not have a negative impact on the dependents. Example: Your minor children are primarily entitled to child support. If you arrange spousal maintenance, you must take this into account.
  • Note that the law restricts past maintenance claims. The reason is that the existence and scope are often uncertain and the maintenance debtor should not be surprised by high maintenance arrears. You can request retroactive maintenance from the time at which you can prove that you have asked the partner to pay or provide information. Further details are regulated by § 1613 BGB.
  • If you arrange spousal maintenance, it must be ensured that the economic inferiority of a partner is taken into account in the conduct of the negotiations and that the agreement does not lead to an obviously one-sided and unreasonable burden sharing, in which the loser is already certain with the agreement. Example: You make your pregnant wife forego spousal maintenance by giving her the family car.
  • It is important that any maintenance agreement that you make regarding your separation or divorce must be notarized. Only then are they legally binding and enforceable if necessary. Verbal or private written agreements remain legally irrelevant.

What is a maintenance recourse?

If you provide maintenance, even though you are not or only subordinated, you have an interest in recourse to the person who should have paid the maintenance in reality or primarily.

A typical case is the cuckoo child: your wife gives birth to a child during marriage or shortly after separation. she go assume that you are the father and make child support. At some point, due to the shape of the child’s nose, you suspect that your neighbor may be the father. In this case, the child’s right to maintenance against the biological father passes to you insofar as you have paid maintenance to the child.

As far as you can only suspect the foreign paternity, according to the case law of the Federal Court of Justice you have recently been entitled to the mother of the child providing information about the biological father. They are no longer at the mercy of the child’s mother and the biological producer. To do this, you must first challenge your paternity so that it is clear that you are not the father. On this basis, you can sue the mother for information (BGH I Kuckuckskind judgment XII ZR 136/09).

What accuracy do maintenance computers have??

If you are interested in calculating your maintenance obligation, you can consult a maintenance calculator. Maintenance computers are abundant on the Internet. The problem is that the result of your research can only be as good as you enter reliable data yourself. You need to know which factors are relevant for the maintenance calculation. When it comes to determining your adjusted net income, it is important to enter those liabilities that are relevant to maintenance law and to ignore those that are not considered in terms of maintenance law. Any wrong assessment leads to incorrect results. Maintenance computers can therefore only provide approximate results. But at least: You get at least a rough calculation of your maintenance obligation.


Maintenance is a complex matter. Regardless of whether you claim maintenance yourself or want to ward off maintenance claims: You will hardly reach your goal without legal advice and legal support. Our living conditions are usually so complex that general assessments are not possible and almost every individual situation requires individual assessments.



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Christina Cherry
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