Young students studying abroad: who receives child benefit?

Parents currently receive 204 euros for the first and second child, 210 for a third child and 235 euros for the fourth and each additional child.

(Photo: picture alliance / dpa)

With parents living separately, child benefit is a common issue. Even if the son or daughter has long since moved out to study. To which household does the child belong? The Federal Finance Court must now define criteria for this.

Parents whose studying child no longer lives at home are still entitled to child benefit. Provided the child is not older than 25 years. Which parent receives child benefit if the parents live separately or are divorced is often the subject of disputes. "Legally, it comes down to what is known as household membership", explains Isabel Klocke from the Taxpayers Association. Legal proceedings are currently pending at the Federal Finance Court (BFH) (Az .: III R 59/18).

in the dispute the father demanded that the child benefit for his student son be paid to him. So far, the mother has received child benefit because the son lived with her until she finished school. The father argued that the son had moved out of the mother’s apartment because of his studies, and that membership in her household had been dissolved. Since he paid more maintenance for the son, he is now entitled to child benefit, the father argued.

Federal Finance Court asked

The Hesse Finance Court, however, came to the conclusion that the student was still in his mother’s household. He stayed with his mother every other weekend and during the semester break. Therefore, the requirements for the child’s continued household admission are fulfilled and the mother is still entitled to child benefit (Az .: 5 K 1835/14).

The judgment is not yet final, however, since the case is now before the BFH. The court will have to clarify the criteria according to which household affiliation is determined for children living abroad, says Klocke.

Parents living apart should keep an eye on the outcome of the procedure. Regardless of which parent receives child benefit, parents of children of legal age who are in education or studying should remember to apply for child benefit in good time. Because it will only be paid retrospectively for six months.

Currently parents receive 204 euros for the first and second child, for one third Child 210 and for the fourth and each additional child 235 euros. Child benefit is paid until the child is 18 years old. Parents can also get it for children of full age under certain conditions. Prerequisite: These are in training.


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Christina Cherry
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