According to the law, every couple in Germany whose marriage has failed and can no longer be saved in accordance with Section 1565 of the German Civil Code (BGB) can get a divorce. According to family law, a marriage is considered to have failed if the spouses have lived apart for a year or if the continuation of the marriage would represent “unreasonable hardship” for the divorce applicant.
Theoretical calculation of divorce costs
The divorce costs are based on the so-called procedural value, which is the basis for calculating the court and legal fees. At least one lawyer is mandatory for the couple in the event of divorce, because according to § 114 Paragraph 1 FamGKG, a lawyer is compulsory when submitting an application for divorce.
The procedural value is made up of two parts:
The first part of the procedure value is calculated from three times the net income of the first spouse plus three times the net income of the second spouse, minus 250 euros per dependent child. In addition, the family court can add a five percent share of the property to the value of the proceedings, which, according to “Divorce Online”, is seldom the case. When calculating assets, please note that allowances of around 20,000 euros per spouse and 10,000 euros per child are deducted from assets. The minimum procedural value for the divorce – for example for low-wage earners or Hartz IV recipients – is 3,000 euros.
The second part of the procedural value results from the subject value of the so-called pension adjustment. This is calculated according to the provisions of the Pension Equalization Act (VersAusglG). However, if the spouses waive a pension adjustment or if the duration of the marriage is less than three years at the time the application is submitted, only a minimum pension adjustment of 1,000 euros is due.
Let us assume that wife F earns a net amount of 4,000 euros per month at the time of the divorce petition and husband M a net amount of 2,500 euros. This results in a combined net income of 19,500 euros for a period of three months.
The couple have four dependent children. This means that a total of 1,000 euros will be deducted from the total net income for the period under review. For the procedural value, this initially results in an amount of 18,500 euros.
Since the competent family court adds a five percent share of the property to the procedural value, the value of the property must also be calculated. The assets of F and M consist of a single-family house worth 450,000 euros, which is still burdened with 250,000 euros in debt. An allowance of 80,000 euros is deducted from this, 20,000 euros each for M and F and an amount of 10,000 euros per child. This results in a value of 120,000 euros for the assets – five percent of which is 6,000 euros.
The second part of the procedural value results from the pension adjustment. Since M and F were only married for almost two years, this is the minimum value of 1,000 euros.
In total, this results in a total procedural value of 25,500 euros (18,500 + 6,000 + 1,000 euros).
Court and lawyer costs
Once the procedural value has been calculated, the actual costs for the divorce can be determined from this. With the help of tables, which can be found in the Lawyers’ Remuneration Act (RVG) or the Law on Court Fees in Family Matters (FamGKG), it can then be determined which costs arise with a certain procedural value. In this example, a fee rate of 2.5 (1.3 procedural fee and 1.2 appointment fee) results in an amount of 2,157.50 euros (2.5 x 863.00 euros) for legal fees. The court costs in divorce proceedings are regulated in the FamGKG and in this example amount to a total of 812 euros at a rate of 2.0. (2×406 euros). In total, in the case of a mutual divorce, the couple has to pay an amount of 2,969.50 euros in the constructed example.
Cost savings through friendly divorce
If the divorce is amicable as in the example above, this calculation method can provide a rough overview of the total costs incurred. Nevertheless, there are cases in which the spouses do not come to an out-of-court agreement on follow-up matters such as maintenance, marital home and child-related matters. If the divorce is not amicable, a second lawyer must be called in to defend the other spouse. This results in considerable additional costs for both spouses, as the costs for the lawyer are no longer divided.
In addition, any dispute that the spouses cannot resolve out of court incurs additional fees. According to § 45 FamGKG, a lump sum of 3,000 euros is due for disputes in child-related matters and an additional amount of between 2,000 and 4,000 euros is charged in the event of disagreements regarding marital home and household matters according to § 48 FamGKG.
In addition, many family courts reduce the value of the goods by 30 percent in the case of a consensual divorce, according to “Scheendung.org”, which makes a non-consensual divorce even more expensive in comparison.
Dangers of consensual divorce
Even so, there are a few things to watch out for in this type of divorce. On the one hand, in case of doubt, the spouse who hired the divorce lawyer is always obliged to pay for the costs – even if you have previously agreed to share the costs. Furthermore, in the event of a dispute, the lawyer may strictly only represent the interests of the client, so the unrepresented spouse is then clearly at a disadvantage. Therefore, “Scheendung.org” advises to hire two lawyers for large assets and lots of real estate.
Pauline Breitner / Forex-news.com.net editors
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