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German Law/Unterhaltsvorschussgesetz claim


As the foreign father of a German child with a single mother, I am waiting for the Jugendamt to calculate my child support payments, having transferred an initial sum probably worth a few months' child support to help the mother. In the meantime I currently have zero income. The mother has applied for AVG benefits claiming I am not being regular in 'maintenance' payments, and I have received a formal letter directing me to start standard monthly payments for up to 72 months. Should I contest this claim since my current income is zero, or am I obligated to pay this 'maintenance', and what is the official (English equivalent) term for it?

First of all, keep in mind that the Jugendamt cannot force you to pay anything. They are a social welfare body, not a court. I would still recommend to cooperate with them, for otherwise the mother might go to court, but you don't need to be afraid of them, nor do you need to raise any formal objection to any of their calculations.

Child support is calculated based on your current income. If your income is zero, you would need to show how you survive and explain why you don't have any income. If you cannot come up with a credible explanation, a German court might still order you to pay child support, based on a fictional income that they think you could earn if you tried. Another question of course is whether such a ruling would be recognized and enforced in India.

If you can show why your income is zero at the moment, it is likely that the Jugendamt will continue sending a few letters and then drop the whole matter. They might contact you again in a year or two, inquiring if your financial situation has improved.

Andreas Moser

German Law

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Andreas Moser


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.


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.


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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