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German Law/Minimum Child Support in Germany

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Question
Andreas,

My wife and I are considering a divorce. We have been married for 3 years. We currently have a child aged 23 months. My wife wrote a draft seperation agreement that I do not quite agree with. This will be her second divorce, she claims to know what she is doing and that I have to comply with her terms. I frankly have no clue about German laws with regards to divorces, seperation and child support, besides what my wife tells me, and a few forums I read through online. I will be out of job and a student for about 41 months by the time we file seperation. I wish to financially support my daughter's education by paying child support, however, without causing any financial distress to my myself while unemployed then in College. My wife claims that the minimum child support is 180 Euros. But how does the German government/court goes about calculating/estimating child support? Considering my student/unemployed status, car insurence payments, campus housing rent, student loans, etc. Is it best to get a court order? What is really the minimum child support required in Germany? Please advise. Thank you, Peter.

Answer
Dear Peter,

child support in Germany depends on the income of the non-custodial parent (i.e. the parent with whom the child will not be residing after the separation) and the age of the child.

There is no minimum child support because if your own income (after taxes and social security contributions and loan payments) is less than 800 EUR if you are a student or less than 1,000 EUR if you are working, then you are not obligated to make any payments.

A court might look unfavourably towards your decision to become a student, depending on your age and existing qualifications, so it would be helpful if you could show that this has been a long-term plan which your wife agrees with (or at least used to until the separation).

Obviously, I would recommend not to sign anything that you are not absolutely happy with. If you wish, you can e-mail me the draft agreement and I will let you know my opinion. If you e-mail me the details of your financial situation (moser@moser-law.com), I can also calculate the child support amounts using the "Düsseldorfer Tabelle", the child support chart used by family courts in Germany.

Andreas Moser
www.moser-law.com
www.andreasmoser.wordpress.com

German Law

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Andreas Moser

Expertise

Extensive experience in international family law, especially international child abductions and child custody cases. All other areas of German law as well: constitutional law, criminal law, business and contract law, immigration law, inheritance law, and so on.

Experience

Lawyer in Germany from 2002 to 2009. Lawyer for US Army JAG Corps before. Bar-certified specialisation in family law and in administrative law. Articles and lectures about international and domestic family law.

Publications
www.andreasmoser.wordpress.com

Education/Credentials
2000 Law Degree from University of Regensburg, Germany 2002 admitted to the bar (until 2009) 2013 MA Philosophy at the Open University, UK

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