Until then, you have to pay maintenance

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Of: Carina Blumenroth


Parents are responsible for providing for their children – even if they are over 18 and are undertaking vocational training. However, there are also limits.

If you have children, you have to pay for them – it doesn’t just end when you turn 18. If children are starting their first vocational training, the parents themselves have to pay for support. On the other hand, however, the child must be purposeful and fast in training. Read here under which conditions you must provide financial support to your adult children.

Children over the age of 18: Parents are also liable if children no longer live in the household

Children are generally entitled to maintenance if they are still in school and are not married. If the child still lives in the father’s or mother’s household, the same rules apply as for minor children. The maintenance allowance depends on the income of both parents. The Düsseldorf table applies to the age group from 18 years. A fundamental difference, however, is that the child no longer requires care – this means that both parents must pay maintenance in cash. These are calculated according to income. The parent with whom the child lives in the household can set off the maintenance contribution against food and pocket money.

Parents must also pay maintenance for their adult children if they are undertaking vocational training. © Alexander Limbach/Imago

Provision for adult children who no longer live in the household

If a child no longer lives in the household with the parents, the child is entitled to a fixed needs rate that is independent of the parents’ income. This currently amounts to €860 (as of January 2022), which includes housing benefit. If the parents are separated, they must pay maintenance in proportion to their respective incomes.

Children over 18: Rest periods must be short

The transition between school, education and studies must be kept short. The restitution period between school attendance and the start of education or study should not last longer than two months. If a place at university is associated with a longer waiting time, the child must go to work in the meantime to at least earn part of their own support.

An au pair stay or a voluntary social year does not necessarily have to be financed by the parents. If the voluntary social year serves directly to prepare a course of study or is used for general academic orientation, the parents are liable for maintenance. The situation is different with the au pair stay – it is not education in itself – but if the child is enrolled at a foreign university, there may be a requirement for maintenance allowance, which the portal financial advice explained. If the child then starts studying or starts an apprenticeship after the year abroad, the parents are again liable for maintenance.

Children in training: training salary is taken into account

Children undergoing vocational training are basically entitled to maintenance. However, the education allowance is offset against the allowance, only the travel expenses and a fixed education allowance of 100 euros per month can be deducted. If children change educational occupations, then the parents must continue to pay maintenance, this requirement may also exist if the child has dropped out of university and then starts training.

In some cases, parents also pay maintenance when the first vocational training is over

If a child first completes an apprenticeship and immediately follows up on vocational training, then parents can also be responsible for providing for the second apprenticeship. It may look different if too much time passes between when the child has worked in the respective subject. Then it may be that parents could not count on further education. Even if the examinations have nothing to do with the education, it may be that parents are still responsible for maintenance. financial advice outlines a case where a child first took a banking apprenticeship and then began studying to be a teacher – the parents were then responsible for maintenance.

Child support up to the master’s degree – Bafög must be applied for

If the child wants to take a master’s degree after completing the bachelor’s degree, then the parents are still responsible. Parents do not have to pay for any subsequent doctoral degree. Even a possible change of subject until the second semester does not change the maintenance obligation. Child allowance can be deducted from the child allowance, but must then be made available to the children. During their studies, children must apply for Bafög, which also counts towards maintenance allowance.

Support for adult children: self-support for parents is increased

When children no longer live in the household, personal needs usually increase. Planned high financial advice own needs of 1,400 euros per month. Based on the parents’ additional income, less self-support, the support is then distributed between both parents.

The abilities of the parents must be taken into account

As on the website pile is accounted for, any maintenance obligation can be waived if this cannot be expected of the parents due to their age or financial viability. If the parents’ income is so low that they cannot ensure their own old-age provision, then they no longer have to finance their studies if the child has already completed an apprenticeship and could earn money from the profession learned.

Maintenance obligation for children over 18 – there is no standard solution

There is no universal solution to when children are entitled to child support. The individual case must always be investigated, and there must also be proportionality. If, for example, a child is 18 years old and is in an apprenticeship where the education allowance covers the support requirement, it may be that parents no longer have to pay maintenance.

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