Spouses are entitled to alimony from each other in different ways:
- Family maintenance (§ 1360 BGB)
- Separation maintenance (§ 1361 BGB)
- post-marital maintenance (§§ 1570 ff. BGB)
A spouse who is not gainfully employed and who is the sole head of the household can claim family support for household and pocket money from the spouse who is the sole earner (§ 1360 BGB). A marriage with a sole earner is the exception today, and family maintenance is therefore rarely claimed today.
Separation maintenance can be claimed by those who are permanently separated from their spouse, who are in need and if the other spouse is capable of performing well.
Whoever wants to receive separation support must explicitly claim it. If the conditions are met, the partner must pay it from the time of the claim. This claim is valid until the divorce becomes final.
If a spouse wants to receive separation support for as long as possible, he or she will claim this maintenance immediately upon separation and later try to delay the divorce proceedings as long as possible. All the later the, usually limited, post-marital maintenance begins. If a spouse wants to end the separation support as soon as possible, he or she should try to get a divorce date as soon as possible. Separation support cannot be waived by contract. However, the amount of the payment can be regulated in a post-divorce agreement – keyword: fairness.