In Germany, regardless of whether a child is born in or out of wedlock, the amount of financial support to be paid for children under the age of majority is outlined in the Duesseldorf table, which is respected by all family courts in the country.
The amount of child support to be paid depends not only on the age of the child, but also on the amount of income of the parent with whom the child does not reside. The amount of child support to be paid by non-custodial parents increases as children age. This is because the cost of raising children increases as they get older. Minors are unable to recognize and express their financial needs; therefore, they rely on the government to regulate increases in the financial commitment of their parents.
Non-custodial parents cannot avoid their financial obligations to their children if they are or become unemployed. In such cases, the income of the parent who is involuntarily unemployed will be verified, and the parent liable for paying child support must furnish proof that he or she is making a genuine effort to commence or resume gainful employment.
The parent with whom the child resides is entitled to child support. Not only must the child support payments be made on time, the amount of the payments must be determined by a youth welfare office, notary, or judge. The least expensive option, which costs nothing, is to obtain a calculation from the youth welfare office.
Government regulation of child support ensures that the parent with whom the child resides is secure if the parent responsible for paying child support withholds or reduces such payments. If this is the case, the parent with whom the child resides can obtain child support monies from the youth welfare office.
The calculation of child support for adult children is more complicated. Although the Duesseldorf table again is used to determine the amount to be paid, the child’s living arrangements also must be taken into consideration. While many adult children study or participate in apprenticeship programs and live at home, others have completed their studies but still live with the custodial parent, and still others have moved out and established their own households.
It often is overlooked that unlike child support for minors, child support for adult children cannot be claimed by the parent with whom the child resides because the child no longer is underage. The adult child must file personally for child support from his or her parent and if necessary take legal steps to secure it.
Here, a conflict of interest may arise if the parent with whom the child resides previously had to obtain legal assistance to collect child support. Such a situation can be very distressing for the adult child and must be handled by the lawyer with particular sensitivity and care.