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If the children live with one parent after a separation or divorce, the other parent is obliged to pay cash maintenance. The amount of the maintenance claim is based on the Düsseldorf table. The parent with whom the children live fulfills their maintenance obligation through so-called maintenance in kind - i.e. accommodation, meals, etc. The maintenance for the children is calculated from the income of the separated parent and the age of the children and usually expires with the completion of the first education. The so-called minimum requirement applies as the basis.

The higher the income, the higher the maintenance amounts to be paid. In Germany it is usually the father (in over 80%) who pays, as there are around 1.45 million single mothers compared to 180,000 single fathers. However, the statistics show that only every fourth father fulfills his payment obligations on time and in full. If the single parents find themselves in financial need, they can claim advance maintenance payments from the state. However, the total is at the minimum rate and therefore often well below the actual obligation. In the case of maintenance that spouses owe each other, a distinction must be made between separation maintenance and post-marital maintenance. The needy spouse must assert both of these himself.