Maintenance from the age of 18: what are the requirements of adult children?

The right to maintenance from the parents does not end automatically with the 18 years of age, provided that children have not yet completed vocational training. Exactly when children of legal age are entitled to maintenance depends on various factors such as living situation and level of education. The calculation also differs for maintenance from the age of 18 compared to the maintenance of minors.

Maintenance from 18 to what year of life?

Not all adult children are entitled to maintenance to the same extent. Primarily, parents must support children under the age of 21 who are still in a general education school and live with a parent. Maintenance Legally they are Equal to minors. Children over the age of 21 and children with their own household who are in training or studying are entitled to maintenance, but are given less priority if the parent has to pay maintenance to several children. There is no general age limit for the maintenance entitlement; the need of the child and the performance of the parents are decisive. Both parents must support maintenance from the age of 18, even if the child still lives in the household of one parent. Both parents are required to pay cash. That means: you pay out money directly to the child. If the child marries, the child is no longer entitled to financial protection from the parents.

Children’s obligations

From the age of 18, children must actively request maintenance from their parents. Child benefit, BAföG and other income of the child are counted towards the determined need and thus reduce the amount of maintenance to be paid. Children who require maintenance from their parents are obliged to apply for and receive BAföG, even if it is a loan. In order to claim maintenance from the age of 18, they may have to provide the parents with information about the income of the other parent.

Amount and calculation of maintenance

A calculation is only possible if the income of both parents is known. The income of a new spouse of a parent can certainly become relevant. The net income (less the deductible) of both parents is added together. With the resulting sum, the child’s needs can be read from the Düsseldorf table. From this, his income is deducted. The parents divide the rest of the sum between them according to their income. The following applies: If one parent cannot pay, the other part is not obliged to pay the maintenance entirely on his own. Everyone only pays their share. In addition, the maintenance claim from the joint calculation must not exceed the costs for the sole maintenance debtor. The need for dependent children with their own household is set at a flat rate of 735 euros.

Keep in training

Children of full age, unmarried, are entitled to maintenance until the end of their education. Even a change of training in the meantime does not change the maintenance claim (AZ 10 WF111 / 10). Parents only have to carry out secondary training in exceptional cases, for example if the child can no longer carry on his job for health reasons. The parents may have to also Fund a subsequent course if the course represents a meaningful extension of the training and is started promptly. Training allowance, travel expenses and a lump sum of 90 euros are deducted from the value in the Düsseldorf table.

Maintenance during your studies

The right to maintenance exists only during the standard period of study; however, a change of subject within the first three semesters is permitted. Parents do not always have to finance a study abroad. It depends on whether the stay abroad is necessary and the costs are reasonable. If the course is successfully completed, the parents must continue to pay maintenance for up to three months so that the child is also covered in the application phase. A doctorate, on the other hand, does not justify maintenance claims against the parents.


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Christina Cherry
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