Eligibility and amount of financial support

If a parent takes care of young children due to a separation or divorce, work is usually not possible temporarily. In this case, you may be entitled to child support. Here you can find out what requirements must be met and the amount of child support.

What is child support?

A separation or divorce – for better or for worse – is never a pleasant thing, and if there are children, it becomes even more difficult. In most cases, the majority of care and upbringing is taken over by one of the parents, which of course entails certain restrictions.

Without the help of grandparents or other caregivers, work is either not possible at all or only possible on a very limited scale. Thus, care time sometimes has a serious impact on income.

Once the parent caring for the child is no longer able to take care of themselves financially, there is a possibility, under certain circumstances, to oblige the other parent to pay childcare (basic alimony). In this way, livelihood security must continue.

good to knowThe basic idea of ​​child support is to enable the average child to be a caring parent for the first three years of life. At the same time, the parent caring for the child should not be forced to work so that he can earn a living.

What are the child support requirements?

Child support cannot be claimed in every case. A prerequisite for eligibility for child support is that the ex-partner can continue to pursue his or her regular job and earn money. Below we show you more requirements:

  • The responsibility of caring for a normal child is assumed alone.
  • Subsistence cannot be satisfied without the income of the other parent.
  • Their child is less than three years old.
  • The former partners are efficient and able to finance their livelihoods.
  • Recognition of paternity.

If all the requirements are met, you are entitled to child support. It makes no difference whether he is taking care of the mother or the father of an ordinary child.

Do you have to be married to receive child support?

In order to receive child support, you do not necessarily have to be married to the father or mother of your child. Thus, married and unmarried people are treated equally, and marital status is not a necessary condition.

noticeChild support for divorced women and therefore illegitimate children is regulated in Civil Code (BGB) § 1570, while § 1615I refers to illegitimate children.

How long is child support?

The first steps, the first word, and a myriad of wonderful events occur in the first three years after birth. The first years of life are a very formative and important stage for both parents and offspring, which you actively experience and do not want to miss.

Fortunately, most couples can close the gap financially so that one parent can spend the first few years at home and with child care with the help of maternity leave, parental leave, parental allowance and child benefit. Unfortunately, this is not easy for single parents, because the income of the other parent is lost.

In order to continue to take care of the care, upbringing and well-being and to have the necessary financial resources for this, the parent caring for the child is entitled to child support from birth until the child’s third birthday.

Children over the age of three are no longer entitled to basic maintenance. According to the legislation, a single parent is expected to work again from this point on, on the understanding that children from 3 years of age can no longer be cared for in person, but can be cared for in a daycare center or kindergarten, for example.

good to know: As early as six weeks before giving birth, that is, at the beginning of the maternity protection period, you can claim child benefit in case of separation. If the mother can no longer exercise her profession early due to illness or work prohibition, the eligibility exists four months before the birth.

Retroactive payments?

In my personal environment, the question arose as to whether child support could be claimed retroactively. However, this is not possible or only possible with great difficulty. Payment usually becomes mandatory only after you have applied for basic maintenance.

Can child support be extended?

Although child support is usually limited to the first three years of life, entitlement can be extended in some individual cases. It includes, among others:

  • child’s illness
  • child handicap
  • The growing need for care
  • delayed development
  • lack of childcare

Additionally, if you work part-time with a low income, child support may still be an option.

How much is child support?

The amount of child support depends on the standard of living of the parent caring for the child and on the payer’s ability to pay.

For example, if your ex-partner has an adjusted net income of €2,500 per month and your income is €1,000, then there is a difference of €1,500 that has to be compensated.

In order to determine the claim, the so-called 3/7 method is used: Income difference * 3/7 = child support amount. In our example the monthly accrual is 643 euros.

good to know: A deduction of €1,160 (as of July 2022) is taken into account for working people who are obligated to pay alimony, which is regulated in the Düsseldorf schedule.

Where to apply for child support?

The first point of contact is the local Youth Welfare Office. There you can get advice and calculate the amount of child support. It is important that the claim is in writing.

As a rule, the written application is submitted by the lawyer to the competent family court. If the person obligated to pay alimony refuses, a claim for child support can be submitted to the family court.

Is there a difference for child support?

Yes there is! Ex-partners also pay child support to the mothers or fathers, who take on most of the childcare. However, child support must cover the child’s needs, such as clothing and food. On the other hand, child support primarily benefits the livelihood of the parent caring for the child.

In the following video, you can find out the cost of divorce.

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Image Credit: Getty Images / Prostock Studio

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