Obligation to pay alimony under German law

65 posts in this topic

I am seperated from my spouse and heading toward divorce and custody issues.

 

In the meantime I am paying alimony (and child support<<<which I dont mind)

 

My youngest son will be 3 in a month and she is a stay at home mom.

 

We are both US citzens and she could get a job on the army base or in a local town.

 

How long do I pay for my soon to be ex wife's alimony? :angry: (I am going into the red now in $ and have had severl unexpected bills creep up)

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According to German law, for as long as she needs to be a stay home or work part time because she is raising your kids. In Germany, considering the lack of daycare options and half day school, that could easily be until the kids are old enough to be home alone although the judge might order her to look for a job part time if she can get a half day space in daycare for him.

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You are totally screwed. May be filing for bankruptcy might help?

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What you are paying now is not alimony - you're not yet divorced, so it is an interim arrangement.

Please read the thread on changes to maintenance (UK term for alimony) and discuss with your lawyer. Each case is different, for example my gent stopped paying the alimony component as of January 2012, 4 years post-divorce with children now aged 7 & 11. Legally he could have asked to stop paying sooner, as she was working in her chosen profession, but he thought it the right thing to do.

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Filing for bankruptcy in Germany will not help. My bf's parents split when he was 5, and his father declared bankruptcy when he was around 9 I think (a business went bad). It isn't a fresh start like in the US - it was only in the past couple of years that his father has even been allowed to have a bank account again! As I understand it, the govt paid the child support & such, but his father had all of his pay docked to compensate - just barely enough to live on for himself - and this lasted for about 25 years. You really don't want to go there!

 

Sorry not to have any helpful answers - just a warning against circumstances you *really* don't want to land in!

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Did you get married in Germany under German law? If not, US Law might be applicable, for better or worse. As LeonG said, alimony in Germany is only to be paid for as long as the ex can not work due to the kids. And with time it gradually decreases also. That is only relevant if you are rich, though. As soon as the ex could work but chooses not to, that´s the ex´s problem. Child support is another thing. It is determined by the so called "Düsseldorfer Tabelle". It of course depends on your income and other financial obligations, as does alimony btw. There are, afaik, three different stages of child support depending on their age. The older they get the more money you pay, basically. Once they turn 18, child support payments end. Except if they pursue further education, like College.

 

Bankruptcy, "Privat-Insolvenz", should be a fresh start, but it is hard. After declaring it you will have to endure a period of "good behavior", "Wohlverhaltensphase". It lasts six years, during which your income is basically capped to the absolute minimum. Everything above will be transferred to the creditors. If, however, you do not show good behavior, eg quit your job or don´t actively seek employment if you´re unemployed, or accumulate new debt and such, the Court may not grant you "Restschuldbefreiung", discharge of residual debt, after the six years. And everything would be in vain, then.

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Married under US law. Lived here for almost 9 years. Rather not go bankrupt.

My wife is pysically able to work and she can put our son into a kita even now.

She just doesnt want to work.

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I would suggest you get in writing a secured place at a kindergarten, then at least you can prove that that is not an obstacle.

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Indeed - Germany looks at what is reasonable (zumutbar), so if, say, a stay-at-home wife doesn't speak German or hasn't got any qualifications, she needs to take reasonable steps to change that should the children be over 3 years old and during that reasonable amount of time, she would need to be reasonably supported.

Does this mean that someone could have the duration of an entire new degree course covered? No, an existing one could be completed though. Or a re-qualification for a previous work area. Or indeed learning German to a level so that she can join the local workforce - base jobs may not be seen as reasonable as the US forces could move and she wouldn't be able to work otherwise. So demanding that she just take any job is not reasonable.

There's also the question of childcare - is there Kindergarten availability? Can family support? What is reasonable?

 

In summary, don't have kids with someone who can't reasonably support themselves ;)

In all other cases, discuss with a decent lawyer and consider mediation.

 

EDIT: In addition, as both parties are ordinarily resident in Germany, German law applies (FamFG §98(1)2).

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You'd have to read his other threads. Short version, divorced, wife and young kids are American but he wants them all to stay in Germany for 15-20 years because he claims he can't find work Stateside.

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Okay, thanks. He's on his own then, but he should man up and take care of his kids (even if it means taking care of his wife too).

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wants them all to stay in Germany for 15-20 years because he claims he can't find work Stateside.

 

Wasn't it rather that his wife wants to take the (Germany-born and -raised) kids to the states cuz she claims she can't find work in Germany?

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haven't read his other posts (nor do I plan to) but if they are US citizens here with the military then they're likely under sofa and once divorced I would presume that she (and the kids if she gets custody) would loses her/their sofa status and would therefore be U.S. bound.

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Wasn't it rather that his wife wants to take the (Germany-born and -raised) kids to the states cuz she claims she can't find work in Germany?

 

Both versions are true depending on how you look at it but if he wants his wife to stay in Germany, he will unfortunately have to continue to fork out the cash for her upkeep. The kids are still small and this is Germany so the judge will most likely not expect the wife to start looking for work right now.

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Wasn't it rather that his wife wants to take the (Germany-born and -raised) kids to the states cuz she claims she can't find work in Germany?

 

I don't recall where they were born but they are all American citizens. Kid 1 is Kindergarten-aged and #2 is two years old so I don't know if "German born and raised" is particularly relevant. Clearly Mom wants to return to her own country and extended family after the marriage went pear-shaped but Dad is holding them all hostage to his precious German employment IMO. He claims he's not hooked up with someone local but I remain sceptical.

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FYI. It is not so easy to get a job on a military base, just because you are an American, even if you yourself are working on one as a miltary personal or contractor. Nor are the jobs all that high paying in many cases, unless you have highly sought after skills.

 

Childcare is expensive. Perhaps she actually wants to stay with her child. Just because a child is 3 and can go to childcare, doesn't necessarily mean it is in the best interest of the child...especially full time.

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