Child support in the case of particularly good income conditions - the "new" Düsseldorfer Tabelle („Düsseldorfer Table“) (as of 01.01.2022)

For decades, the amount of the obligation to pay child support has generally been determined by the family courts on the basis of the so-called “Düsseldorfer Tabelle ” („Düsseldorf Table“).

Until 2020, the table was divided into ten salary groups and four age groups for children. The maximum rates applied to the income of the parent liable for maintenance from EUR 5,101.00 per month upwards; from a monthly net income of the liable parent from EUR 5,501.00 per month upwards, the rate had to be determined “according to the circumstances of the case”, in line with the case law of the Federal Court of Justice that applied until then.

Until 2020, the Federal Court of Justice held that child support is intended to take into account the reasonable needs of the child in accordance with the economic situation of his or her parents. However, a child does not have a claim to “mere participation in luxury”; if the obligor’s income is relevant under maintenance law and exceeds EUR 5,501.00 per month, a concrete calculation of needs must therefore be made. In this way, it should also be ruled out that – in the case of high incomes – the child support would not be used for the child itself, but would be used for other purposes.

The BGH abandoned this case law in its decision of 16.09.2020 (XII ZB 499/19 – NZFam 2020, 1062 et seq.) by confirming a decision of the OLG Munich. Since 2018, the BGH had already ruled in individual cases that even in the case of higher incomes of the obligor, a determination of the need for maintenance could be possible schematically “without a concrete determination of needs”. Since the children basically participate in the standard of living of their parents and derive their position in life from them, children would also have a corresponding claim to participation in the event of a maintenance-relevant income of the obligor that significantly exceeds EUR 5,500.

The new case law has now also been reflected in the new version of the “Düsseldorfer Tabelle” („Düsseldorfer Table“) as of 01.01.2022 in such a way that a schematic determination of child support up to a maintenance-relevant income of the obligor of EUR 11,000.00 per month (!) must be made.

While the maximum rate for an adult child in salary group 10 of the “Düsseldorfer Tabelle” from 01.01.2019 was still EUR 844.00, the maximum rate of the table in salary group 15 (income between EUR 9,501.00 and EUR 11,000.00 per month) for an adult child is now EUR 1,138.00 per month as of 01.01.2022.

In addition, there may be special and/or additional needs. It can be assumed that the district courts will have to expect a significant increase in modification proceedings for child support in the case of higher incomes of the obligor due to the new case law. The effects of the new case law on obligors whose income to be taken into account even exceeds EUR 11,000.00 per month cannot be assessed at present.

The note in the “Düsseldorfer Tabelle” “from EUR 5,501.00 according to the circumstances of the case” is in any case no longer found in the new version of 01.01.2022.

Incidentally, in its decision of 16.09.2020, the BGH expressly stated that the schematic calculation of child maintenance on the basis of the “Düsseldorfer Tabelle” now applies in the case of an income relevant under maintenance law of up to EUR 11,000.00 per month even if there is no personal relationship whatsoever, e.g. between the father of the child and the child. This applies in particular to cases in which the child’s mother breaks off or stops contact with the child’s father even before the child’s birth or immediately after the child’s birth. Even in these cases, the child has a claim against the father, whom he has never met, to share in his standard of living.

Moreover, agreements between parents that include a waiver of child support have always been and will continue to be invalid; they are immoral.