What do dependent children mean

Dependent family members

The right to maintenance is without question one of the most important and at the same time most controversial issues within the legislature. German case law in family law provides for a maintenance entitlement for certain people in various situations, so that another person is obliged to pay maintenance. In this way, the person liable for maintenance supports the person in need and contributes to his or her livelihood because the person needs such support due to the external living conditions.

In most cases, a maintenance obligation arises from the statutory provisions, whereby a maintenance entitlement can also be based on a contractual agreement. Maintenance law is one of the central principles of social security in the Federal Republic of Germany and is therefore of central importance for the entire social system.

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Maintenance in cash or in kind for family members

When speaking of maintenance, maintenance payments are usually meant in the form of cash maintenance, although the legislature also knows other types of maintenance. Disputes over cash maintenance are more well-known in the population and in the media. Maintenance law in the event of divorce has been reorganized and grants the divorced partners fewer maintenance rights than was previously the case. In this context, not only the maintenance payments but also the pension adjustment were clearly regulated.

The maintenance in kind does not consist of any financial contributions, but covers, among other things, the provision of accommodation, food and clothing. In addition, upbringing, teaching and leisure activities are also included in the maintenance in kind.

All of these aspects are primarily relevant in connection with child maintenance, since underage children require a wide range of support and this is not just about financing their livelihood.

Child support

Child support is one of the most common types of support. Underage children are always dependent, so that their parents have to pay for their living expenses. This applies to maintenance in kind as well as financial security in the form of cash maintenance. By law, the parents of a child are not only obliged to care for and educate their offspring, but also to support their children. This is usually an absolute matter of course and is completely out of the question. As long as the parents are a couple and live together with the children as a family, there are usually no problems in this context. However, if the parents separate, the question arises as to how child support will be regulated from now on. Usually the parent with whom the child lives pays maintenance in kind, while the other parent pays maintenance.

In Sections 1601 ff. BGB, the German legislature goes into detail on child maintenance and, in particular, anchors the maintenance entitlement of underage children towards their parents. In addition, children of legal age can still be entitled to maintenance. Such a maintenance entitlement exists if the child is still in education or cannot provide for his or her own living for other reasons. The amount of financial child support depends on various factors. The Düsseldorf table serves as an important starting point and orientation for child maintenance in Germany.

Parental support

Usually the children are dependent on the support of their parents and are therefore entitled to maintenance from them. As soon as the offspring have reached adulthood and completed their training, this usually ends. At some point the children can also stand financially on their own two feet, so that the parents' maintenance obligation ends.

In some cases, over time, the situation is reversed and the parents become needy, so the children have to support their parents financially. From § 1601 BGB and § 1602 BGB there is also a maintenance obligation of the descendants towards their parents, provided that the parents are needy and cannot support themselves independently. This is particularly the case in old age because the pension is extremely low or professional care is required. In such cases, the children have to help secure their parents' livelihood and therefore pay parental support. The maintenance obligation of relatives towards caregivers should also be considered.

In many cases, the issue of parental support becomes relevant as soon as the parents or one parent need care and as a result, placement in an inpatient facility, such as a nursing home, becomes necessary. This sometimes results in high costs that are often not covered by the pension. In principle, those in need then receive social benefits, but these are often to be understood as advance payments in relation to the parental maintenance to be paid by the children. In the event of need, the children must therefore pay for their parents financially, who are therefore considered to be dependent. It should be noted in this context that the parental support also includes a certain deductible. If the payment of maintenance exceeds the children's financial means, the parents in need therefore receive social benefits, which then secure their livelihood.