If your own pension and savings are not enough to live on in old age, well-off children can be called upon to support you. However, there are strict conditions for this.

Anyone who has to go into a nursing home in old age but cannot cover the costs from their own pension and savings will receive support from the social welfare office. However, if the children of the nursing home resident earn a lot of money, the social welfare agency can ask them to contribute to the financing. The key word is parental support.

To qualify, an annual gross income of more than 100,000 euros or a monthly net income of more than 5,000 euros is required. This is shown by a decision of the Higher Regional Court Munich (Ref.: 2 UF 1201/23 e), to which the Family Law Working Group of the German Bar Association refers.

In this specific case, a mentally ill woman received benefits from the social welfare agency of more than 60,000 euros per year. The agency tried to sue the woman's son for child support – without success. The reason: the legislature had stipulated a gross annual income of more than 100,000 euros as a prerequisite for child support.

The court considered it appropriate to reduce this requirement to an average monthly net income that can be achieved with this gross income – depending on marital status and type of employment, this would be 5,000 to 5,500 euros.

However, after deducting statutory contributions and additional pension provision, the son's income was below this: his maintenance income did not exceed 4,475 euros per month in the years of the period specified by the social welfare agency.


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