Pensions for divorcees increase

New pension rights adjustment . Around 200 000 people affected each year

MUNICH – Divorced wives in particular can secure considerably higher pensions by applying to the family court for a modification of the old divorce decree on pension equalization.

Divorced persons can expect substantial back payments and pension increases in the future from (current and future) company pensioners, recipients of occupational pension schemes or civil servants’ pensions. Some divorced people got only 1000 Euro “compensation amount” according to the old law – but after change now about 2500 Euro. An application to the court is sufficient for the additional pension enhancement. More than one in three marriages ends in divorce. Anyone who was divorced in the period 1977-2009 can apply to the court to have the public-law pension equalisation carried out more fairly in accordance with the new legal situation. The divorced person thus secures the higher share of civil servant pensions, company pensions and/or occupational pensions beyond the death of the ex-spouse. Generally speaking, divorced couples can now claim half of the old-age pension they received during their marriage. Experts estimate that one in two divorce decrees can be modified. An example: Dr. Winter, government director at a German financial services supervisory authority, trained actuary, has to take note of the fact that his divorced wife no longer receives sickness benefits via his civil servant allowance with residual cost insurance. Instead of 220 Euros before, the new PKV insurance at the same level now costs 900 Euros, which he may pay from now on as health care maintenance.

Waiting can be expensive

Together with the loss of the family allowance and the redistribution of civil servants’ pensions, it will then be financially tight even for a former government director. But he can then improve his pension by the masses of recalculations for the pension equalization, which roll on employers and pension funds. Waiting until the start of retirement as a divorcee can be expensive, because regularly the modification of the pension rights adjustment can only be requested during the lifetime of the divorcee. Of course, pensions already in payment can also be recalculated for civil servants’ pensions, occupational pensions and company pensions. Through the so-called “internal division”, spouses are entitled to half of the entitlements acquired during the marriage. The divorced woman can then claim this money from the ex-spouse’s former employer, for example. Professional pension funds also inevitably come into contact with pension recipients who were unable to acquire membership before the divorce because they had not exercised a corresponding profession.

Justice has its price

The legal requirements for a company pension scheme were already difficult to meet in the past – in addition, there was the liability of the employer for inadequate provision. Now the legislator is adding to this a doubling of company pensioners in millions. Justice has its price – but divorced women thus receive an unreliable and fair share of the husband’s provision. However, this is not conducive to the already crumbling interest of employers in occupational pension schemes.

Dr. Johannes Fiala

(Spectator Dentistry 01/2011)


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Dr. Johannes Fiala Dr. Johannes Fiala

Dr. Johannes Fiala has been working for more than 25 years as a lawyer and attorney with his own law firm in Munich. He is intensively involved in real estate, financial law, tax and insurance law. The numerous stages of his professional career enable him to provide his clients with comprehensive advice and to act as a lawyer in the event of disputes.
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