Spousal Maintenance in Germany

German Family Lawyers

Spousal Maintenance in Germany

German Family Lawyers

If a marriage breaks down, this often has far-reaching financial consequences for those affected. These include, for example, spousal maintenance, which may become due during the separation phase. In addition, one partner may be obliged to pay post-marital spousal maintenance even after the divorce. The question of whether the conditions for a maintenance claim exist and the calculation of the maintenance amount always requires a careful examination of the individual circumstances, as only an experienced family law lawyer can do.

Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte offers comprehensive support in all divorce law matters. Our lawyers will happily explain who is obliged to pay spousal maintenance in the event of separation, how separations differ from divorces, how long payments are to be continued and what exceptions exist for spousal maintenance. Our legal team has in-depth expertise and the necessary empathy to assert your interests and make this emotionally demanding situation as comfortable as possible.

Please, do not hesitate to contact us directly for specialised legal advice.

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Legal assistance in German Family Law

Clarification and Enforcement of your Claims
  • Clarification of all questions regarding spousal maintenance

  • Calculation of post-marital maintenance

  • Judicial enforcement of maintenance claims and demands

  • Divorce settlement / separation agreement

  • Calculation of income

  • Child support | Düsseldorfer Maintenance Table

  • Duty to provide information and entitlement to information in maintenance cases

  • Family and separation maintenance

  • Maintenance advance

  • Conflict resolution | litigation | negotiation | Out-of-court settlements
  • Postmarital maintenance

  • Residential value of own property in maintenance law

Separation & Divorce Proceedings in German Law

When it comes to the dissolution of a marriage, the German Civil Code (BGB) stipulates in § 1565 that a separation of at least one year is required to enforce a divorce. This requirement does not apply if cohabitation would cause “unreasonable hardship” for the petitioner (§ 1565 (2) BGB). It is also possible to have a marriage declared null and void according to § 1313 BGB. However, this is only permissible in cases of e.g. coercion, mental stress or legal incapacity.

The most common forms of divorce therefore require a separation of at least one year and the initiation of proceedings in court. If a separation continues for more than three years and the spouses live apart during this time, the court considers this marriage to have irretrievably broken down.

It should be noted that German laws regarding spousal maintenance refer specifically to marriages and divorces of the latter. Insofar as a non-married couple separates, these provisions do not apply.

Spousal Maintenance During Separation

During the separation of the former partners, German law recognises that they support each other during this time. This form of maintenance is generally only in place for a short time and is rarely provided for that it should last long term. This system of spousal maintenance is in place as it recognises the financial disparity that may exist within marriages and aims to ensure that the commencement of the separation does not result in financial hardship for the parties.

It is worth noting that issues concerning child support take precedence over spousal maintenance, and this support must be satisfied before other maintenance payments are considered.

When deciding the amount of maintenance to be paid, it is determined on a case-by-case basis based on the fac