Child Support: Who Pays for a Child’s Education?

Cute baby boy child kid

Most times you meet men who’ve been forced to pay child support, many will be quick to call it “theft”. Well, prepare yourselves because the court ruled that you should be paying even more than you currently are. (insert evil laugh)

In Germany, child support is determined by the Düsseldorfer Tabelle which was added in 2008 to complement the Berliner Tabelle. (Read: Child Support)

The amounts indicated in the table are normal costs that are incurred while raising a child, which includes housing, clothing and healthcare.

There is need to differentiate if childcare costs are recurring or one-off.

This is because the costs of special needs e.g. the one-time charges for an exchange program or a trip are neither included in the Berliner nor in the Düsseldorfer Child Maintenance Tables.

The distinction is of considerable importance because recurring costs and additional requirements can only be asserted in the future. However, for special requirements the claimant can also demand for costs that were incurred in the past year.


The Case:

An unmarried couple separates and their son who suffers from epilepsy stays in the mother’s custody. The child regularly attends a nursery school and the mother can only work 60% of the hours required for any particular job. Meaning she cannot work full time. The separated parents are in agreement that the child’s maintenance costs should be in in accordance with the so-called “Berlin table’. The father pays the agreed amount. However he doesn’t want to co-finance the nursery school fees, which the mother insists on. She takes him to court on behalf of her son.


The verdict:

On 26.11.2008 the German High court (BGH) passed its judgement in (Case No. XII ZR 65/ 07) clarifying that the fees for nursery schools/kindergartens and other care facilities are not included in the Düsseldorfer Table. Thus, with this ruling the court partially overturned its earlier ruling in this case (see plus Az: XII ZR 150/ 05).



In the above ruling the court sees the costs of childcare as necessary costs that are directly incurred by the child. These costs are vital for a child and thus they cannot be viewed as needs of the parent who has the custody of the child. Consequently both father and mother have to pay for additional care expenses incurred according to their income levels.

Important: Unlike the contributions incurred in the day-care centre catering costs are included in the Childcare Maintenance Table. Reason being that a child’s food is catered for at home and catering costs incurred at nursery school are not extra costs since the child needs to eat regardless of being taken care of at home or in nursery school.

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