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HomeGerman FinanceDüsseldorf Table: How much is child support after a divorce in Germany?

Düsseldorf Table: How much is child support after a divorce in Germany?

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Every divorce has an impact on the children involved, and many of them react with shock, sadness, frustration, rage, or fear. However, children might emerge through it better able to cope with stress, and many grow into more adaptable and tolerant young adults.

If you want to know how much maintenance you have to pay for children together after a separation or divorce, the Düsseldorf table will give you information. Conversely, it also shows what maintenance you would have to receive from the other parent for the children living with you after a divorce.

What is the Düsseldorf table?

The Düsseldorf table is a nationally recognized guideline on maintenance needs. It builds on the minimum maintenance of minor children. The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court regularly updates the maintenance rates in cooperation with the German Family Court Conference.

The guidelines standardize the case law on maintenance and, in addition to the tables, also contain additional comments.

The new original table, which has been in effect since January 1, 2021, can be found here. You can find the Düsseldorf tables from previous years on the website of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court.

Who has to pay maintenance?

The parent with whom the minor child does not stay permanently is obliged to provide so-called cash maintenance (Section 1612a BGB). In the case of children of legal age who are in training or studying, both parents are obliged to provide maintenance.

If the father and mother look after the children alternately according to the so-called change model, the maintenance is calculated differently. You can find more information on this in our cash maintenance guide.

That’s how high the deductible is

If you have to pay maintenance for your school-age children up to their 21st birthday, you can keep € 1,160 per month as subsistence level for yourself when you work. If you are not employed, you should have at least 960 euros per month. This includes up to 430 euros for accommodation, ancillary costs and heating. That didn’t change in 2021.

What is the minimum amount of support per child?

The minimum maintenance for underage children after the separation of the parents is based on the subsistence level of the child and the so-called Minimum Maintenance Ordinance (§ 1612a BGB).

These minimum maintenance rates have been in effect since January 1, 2021 for minor children per month:

  • Up to the 6th birthday: 393 euros
  • Up to the 12th birthday: 451 euros
  • Up to the 18th birthday: 528 euros

You have to pay at least these amounts if possible. Depending on how high your income is, it can also be more. If you cannot pay the minimum maintenance, there is support from the state with the maintenance advance.

The person with whom the children mostly live can apply for the advance payment. The youth welfare office at the place of residence is responsible. However, the person liable for maintenance must repay the advance payment if he earns more again.

You can find more information on the maintenance advance on the family portal.

This is how you determine what you have to pay according to the Düsseldorf table

In the Düsseldorf table you will find the monthly amounts for child maintenance staggered according to the net income of the person liable for maintenance and the age of the children. There are ten income levels and four age levels.

You arrange yourself in these levels with your maintenance-related income and your children according to their age. So you can see the monthly maintenance amounts.

Since January 1, 2021, the standard rates for child maintenance have risen by around 30 euros. You can see exactly how much is due in the current Düsseldorf table 2021. The maintenance for children of legal age has also changed.

Example: Your maintenance-related income amounts to 2,600 euros. This puts you in the third income bracket between € 2,301 and € 2,700. Your child is seven years old, so in the second age bracket.

The Düsseldorf table 2021 shows a maintenance claim of 497 euros per month.

Number of Children

The maintenance rates in the table are based on two dependent children. If you have more than two children or only one child, you may have to pay less or more maintenance than you can see in the table. You will then be assigned to a lower or higher net income group (column 1).

Top earners have to pay more

If you earn more than 5,501 euros a month after deductions, the maintenance does not result directly from the Düsseldorf table. So far, the amount was determined according to the circumstances of the individual case – often the person liable for maintenance simply paid the maximum rate.

According to the new case law of the Federal Court of Justice, the person liable for maintenance must provide specific information about what he earns in order to then be able to calculate the amount of maintenance in an update of the table (BGH, decision of September 16, 2020, Az. XII ZB 499/19). It makes a difference whether the person liable for maintenance has 6,000 euros or 30,000 euros a month.

If you have received the maximum amount according to the Düsseldorf table so far, you can claim higher maintenance in the future. How much more you can ask can be seen from the schematic continuation of the table – at least up to a net income of 11,000 euros.

The starting point is the tenth income level of more than 5,500 euros and a corresponding maintenance of 160 percent of the minimum maintenance – you can find this in the first income line. The income is to be continued in steps of 400 euros with a respective increase in maintenance of 8 percent. With a net income of 7,500 euros, 200 percent of the minimum monthly maintenance is then owed.

Instead of the current maximum amount for a child of twelve years of age of 845 euros, the person liable for maintenance would have to pay 1,056 euros a month if the table were updated schematically.

Demand control amount and percentage

As the income increases, the person liable for maintenance has a higher amount. This is the so-called requirement control amount, which you can find in the Düsseldorf table in the last column.

The percentage in the penultimate column expresses the increase in maintenance for the respective income group compared to the minimum maintenance. The amount of the maintenance entitlement results from the multiplication of the minimum maintenance by the respective percentage. You can read this off as the corresponding euro amount in the table.

The maintenance amounts do not include contributions to health and long-term care insurance or tuition fees. Both are examples of an additional requirement that you have to pay additionally. Special needs are one-off, unexpected, high, necessary expenses that the person obliged to pay maintenance also has to pay in individual cases – for example costs for the orthodontist or the purchase of their own computer for distance lessons.

How is child benefit taken into account?

The child benefit for a minor child is due to the parents – half of the parents each. However, it is paid in full to the parent with whom the child lives. Therefore, the parent who has to pay child support can deduct half of the child benefit from the child support.

The amount to be paid is not derived from the Düsseldorf table. This only arises after half of the monthly child benefit has been deducted.

Since January 2021, child benefit has been EUR 219 per month for the first and second child (Section 66 (1) EStG, Section 6 (1) BKGG). Half of this – 109.50 euros – has to be offset against child maintenance. From the third child, the child benefit amounts to 225 euros, so 112.50 euros must then be deducted. From the fourth child there is 250 euros child benefit, half (125 euros) is offset against the maintenance.

Example 2021: The maintenance payer has a maintenance-relevant net income of 3,400 euros (income level 5) and has an eight-year-old child (K1) and a twelve-year-old child (K2). According to the Düsseldorf table, the maintenance for K1 amounts to 542 euros in 2021 and 634 euros for K2. Half of the child benefit is deducted for both children, i.e. € 109.50 each.

The person liable for maintenance therefore pays 432.50 euros for K1 and 524.50 euros for K2, making a total of 957 euros per month for both children.

For children of legal age, you have to deduct the full amount of the child benefit from the table amount in the Düsseldorf table. Actually, the maintenance obligation increases from the age of majority. Nevertheless, the maintenance that the parents have to pay is reduced.

The reason is that the child benefit is offset against the need. This means that the adult child actually has more than one minor child.

The maintenance for an adult child is calculated differently than the child support for a minor child. The Düsseldorf table applies to both. From the age of majority, not only the income of one parent counts, but the income of both parents.

You can find more information on this in our child support guide for children of legal age.

Important: The maintenance obligation is also a case for income tax, for example as an extraordinary burden.

What are the payment amounts in 2021?

The following table shows what you actually have to pay for the first and second child after deducting half the child benefit since January 2021.

In the next table you can see what you actually have to pay for the third child after deducting half the child benefit.

The last table shows the amounts that you actually have to pay from the fourth child after deducting half the child benefit.

The greatest difficulty in practice is to determine the net income relevant to maintenance. It seldom matches the net income on the payroll. There is no reference to the calculation in the Düsseldorf table itself.

You can deduct work-related expenses, which you can clearly distinguish from your private living costs according to objective characteristics, from your income. You can also estimate a flat rate of 5 percent of your net income – at least 50 euros, or less for marginal part-time work, and a maximum of 150 euros per month.

If your professional expenses exceed the lump sum, you have to prove the total expenses in order to be able to deduct them. As a rule, you can deduct debts from your income.

Maintenance calculator

On some websites you can find free maintenance calculators, all of which are based on the Düsseldorf table. However, these can only provide a first clue. Maintenance law is complex and can therefore only be mapped on a computer to a very limited extent.

Most of the time, what you have calculated with the maintenance calculator does not correspond to what you actually have to pay.

When will the Düsseldorf table be updated again?

The Düsseldorf table is updated about every two years, and the amounts payable change whenever there is more child benefit. The most recent adjustment will take place on January 1, 2021.

The most important questions summarized

What is the Düsseldorf table?

The Düsseldorf table shows you how much maintenance you will have to pay for your child or children in 2021.

Who has to pay maintenance?

The parent with whom the minor joint child does not stay permanently after the divorce has to pay maintenance for the child. He pays so-called cash maintenance.

What is the minimum amount of support per child?

These are the current minimum maintenance rates for 2021: 393 euros (up to 6 years), 451 euros (up to 12 years), 528 euros (up to 18 years).

The greatest difficulty in practice is to determine the net income relevant to maintenance. It seldom matches the net income on the payroll.

How is child benefit taken into account?

The child benefit for a minor child is due to the parents – half of the parents each. However, it is paid in full to the parent with whom the child lives. Therefore, the parent who has to pay child support can deduct half of the child benefit from the child support.

The amount to be paid is not derived from the Düsseldorf table. You will only receive this after deducting half of the monthly child benefit.


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Michelle Halterman
USA, China, South Africa and now Munich - Michelle has come a long way in the world. She is an outdoor person and loves to be in nature with friends and on her mountain bike. Or she meets up with friends for pasta, vino, cappaccino & Co.
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