Alimony divorce: children, duration, calculate and tax – How long do I pay?

Alimony after divorce – According to the Federal Statistical Office, 153,500 marriages were divorced in Germany. With every divorce, the issue of alimony also arises and becomes an important point in the negotiations. Particularly with common accounts and divided income the question about the financial future stands frequently unclarified in the area. Therefore, the experts of Lukinski answer all important questions concerning alimony after divorce.

Child support and spousal support – the rules according to the law

The question of maintenance after a divorce is often not easy to clarify, especially if joint children are part of the marriage. Maintenance claims for the children can be asserted by the parent who looks after the children, but what about one’s own maintenance claims? When can claims for maintenance be asserted and when do they have to be paid and when not?

The conditions – strict rules after the divorce

In the period between separation and official divorce, there is a separation maintenance. This can be claimed by the spouse who earns less. However, if the divorce is final, other rules apply. In principle, both spouses should be able to support themselves after the divorce, but in practice this is rarely the case. In certain cases, there is a claim for maintenance. These include the care of the joint children, claims arising from old age, illness / infirmity or unemployment, but also top-up maintenance, educational maintenance and maintenance on grounds of equity.

Another requirement that arises according to the law is that the spouse who demands alimony must be needy and have a reason for demanding alimony. The spouse who is to pay alimony, however, must also be capable of performing, i.e. also be able to raise the alimony claim. In addition, the longer the marriage has lasted, the more likely there is to be a claim for maintenance.

  • The spouse requesting maintenance must be needy and the spouse paying maintenance must be able to pay.
  • A reason for maintenance must exist, otherwise no maintenance can be claimed

Who gets alimony and who has to pay it?

Maintenance is only paid to those who are in need. This means not being able to support themselves from their own income and assets. However, the spouse in need must actively try to find a suitable gainful employment in order to claim maintenance. It is considered reasonable if it is commensurate with education, age, ability, and health conditions. If the spouse receiving maintenance moves in with a new partner, the claim to maintenance may lapse in accordance with § 1579 no. 2 BGB.

Maintenance is only paid by the person who is able to pay. This means being able to pay alimony without jeopardizing his or her own reasonable livelihood. The spouse paying alimony must therefore always have a deductible remaining. According to the Düsseldorfer Tabelle, the monthly personal requirement without personal requirement amounts to 1,200 euros.

  • The needy spouse may receive alimony if he or she cannot support himself or herself
  • The capable spouse must support the other through alimony if it is possible for him/her to do so

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The grounds for maintenance – care, supplementary and old-age maintenance

Maintenance can only be claimed after the divorce if one of the grounds for maintenance exists at the time of the divorce. If this only arises later, no maintenance can be claimed.

The maintenance

Childcare maintenance can be levied on the parent who has to look after children under the age of three after the divorce. According to the law, it is not reasonable to go to work in this context. Even if a daycare center or grandparents are available to provide partial care, the parent may choose to stay home. If the children are older than three years, the parent can be required to go back to work. Part-time work is absolutely permissible in this case in order to ensure sufficient care for the children.
In certain cases, however, there is still a claim here after the age of three. In the event of problems at school or illnesses of the child, childcare maintenance can also be claimed later. This is usually decided on a case-by-case basis.

Maintenance due to illness

If one of the ex-spouses is no longer capable of gainful employment due to illness, he or she may claim maintenance from the partner on the grounds of illness. The exact extent depends in detail on the type and extent of the health impairment. In any case, however, the illness must be documented by means of a medical certificate.

Supplementary maintenance

If the spouse who is obliged to pay maintenance has a higher and for the marriage formative income, a so-called top-up maintenance can become due from the partner. In order to claim this, one’s own income may not be sufficient to maintain the living conditions. The top-up maintenance is regulated in such a way that it is supplementary to further claims for post-marital maintenance, i.e. the difference is made up by the better-earning partner.

Unemployment benefit

A spouse who is unable to find suitable gainful employment after divorce may claim maintenance. However, such a claim can only be made if no maintenance for care or maintenance due to illness or old age is claimed. In addition, it must be proven that the person concerned has made a serious effort to find a job.

Old age maintenance

If an ex-spouse cannot find a job because of age, he or she can claim maintenance. What age is considered appropriate for this varies from case to case, but usually amounts to the standard age limits for statutory pensions. Younger people can also claim this maintenance by proving that they cannot find adequate work in the possible occupational fields due to their age.

Maintenance in equity

According to the law, it is also possible to demand maintenance if there are serious reasons for not being able to carry out gainful employment and it would be grossly inequitable not to receive maintenance. Precise guidelines as to when such a case occurs are not given and are decided differently from case to case.

Education maintenance

If an education was discontinued or not taken up in anticipation of the marriage, the spouse has the possibility to take up the education again after the marriage or to start it and to claim maintenance during the education. However, the education in this case should be necessary to obtain a suitable job. However, the duration of alimony is limited to the average duration of education.

The amount – so much alimony is entitled to the spouse

The amount of post-marital maintenance is always determined equally by both spouses. First, the income relevant for maintenance is calculated. From the gross income, taxes, social security contributions, reasonable professional applications of a flat rate of 5% and actual expenses for retirement provisions of up to 23% of the gross income are deducted. If the spouse pays child support, this must also be deducted. Of this value, a lump sum of three sevenths, i.e. just under 43%, is deducted as post-marital maintenance if the other is not gainfully employed. However, the person obligated to pay maintenance must be allowed to keep a minimum amount of 1200 euros as a deductible.

  • The amount is always calculated in the same way for both separation and spousal maintenance
  • Certain liabilities are deducted from the net income and from this the claim arises

The duration – so long must be paid alimony

There is no exact regulation in the law as to how long post-marital maintenance must be paid. In principle, however, there is no lifelong entitlement to maintenance. After the divorce, it is possible to limit the payments in time or to reduce them to zero, but only if it is just and equitable, which is checked by the family court in case of doubt. The determining factor for time limits on alimony is whether the dependent partner has suffered any disadvantages as a result of the marriage, such as a career setback due to caring for their children together or a low pension. Marriages that have lasted longer than 20 years often receive an unlimited maintenance claim.

  • The duration is not clearly regulated in the law
  • Depending on the duration and course of the marriage, there are different arrangements

The most important questions about alimony after divorce

The question of the financial situation after a divorce is always a topic of conversation. To avoid disputes arising from this matter, it is important to know the legal situation and the rights. Therefore, the experts of Lukinski answer all important questions about the topic of alimony after divorce.

How is post-marital maintenance calculated?

Post-marital maintenance is calculated from the gross income of both spouses, taking into account certain liabilities. Depending on the reason for maintenance, a different maintenance claim arises. The exact sums must be calculated individually in each case.

When do I have to pay alimony to my wife?

In short marriages (usually of two years or less), no alimony arises for the wife. In longer marriages, maintenance must be paid if one or more of the grounds for maintenance can be invoked. However, this varies greatly from case to case.

How long can a divorce drag on?

Divorces by mutual consent with pension rights adjustment are scheduled for a period of between four and six months. Without pension equalization, an amicable divorce is shortened to one to three months. However, if the spouses do not agree, divorces can drag on for a year or longer, depending on how quickly an agreement is reached.

How long do you have to pay separation maintenance?

Separation maintenance only has to be paid until the divorce is official. Separation maintenance is therefore limited to a period between separation and divorce.

What is spousal support?

Spousal maintenance is a transfer payment that must be paid by the higher-earning spouse during the separation and beyond the end of the marriage period. Spousal maintenance is regulated in the BGB.

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