Questions and Answers on alimony

What is important for alimony?

On 1 January 2008, a comprehensive reform of the law on maintenance obligations came into force, which aims in particular to ensure equal treatment of legitimate and illegitimate children with regard to childcare maintenance and to strengthen the principle of post-marital personal responsibility.
Whether an action to modify existing maintenance titles has any chance of success depends primarily on whether the creditor can be expected to accept the loss or reduction of maintenance. For the reasonableness it depends, among other things, on the duration of the maintenance payment, so that the moment of time plays an important role and further waiting has a negative effect on the prospects of success.
Whether and to what extent maintenance is owed depends on the income situation of the persons involved, which can be set higher or lower, depending on whether, for example, debts owed by the debtor are taken into account to reduce income or whether the maintenance creditor's own income is disregarded as "over-bonded" because the work is carried out in addition to looking after small children.

What is fictitious income?

It is not only the actual income of the persons involved that matters, but often also whether they could be expected to earn a higher income (e.g. by changing jobs, taking up a second job, full-time instead of part-time); how these questions are to be answered depends to a large extent on the judicial assessment of the past and present circumstances of the persons involved.

When do I need a lawyer, and can I afford it?

Therefore, the outcome of a maintenance dispute regularly varies depending on whether the family court succeeds in correctly presenting the employment situation and the personal circumstances of the parties involved. It is therefore advisable to obtain competent advice from a specialist lawyer at an early stage of a maintenance dispute. It is in the nature of things that a maintenance creditor without his own income, who currently does not receive any maintenance, lacks the means to pay for legal advice and representation. In this case, legal aid can be applied for in the first instance for legal advice and later for legal representation in the maintenance proceedings, or, if necessary, an advance on legal costs can be claimed against the maintenance debtor.
For the beneficiary, the use of the lawyer may then be free of charge in whole or in part. I would be happy to check for you in advance whether the conditions for counselling and legal aid are met or whether it makes sense to claim against the obligated party an advance on legal costs.