Why is it financially wise to get married?

FINANCIAL BLOG NEWS

A warning in advance: This post is written from the perspective of a man who has experienced divorce. In the case of a certain type of female reader, the truths presented here can lead to gasping and uncontrollable fits of rage. Women who are not affected are welcome to swap the signs and male by female Replace names.

Here we go…

Life is good, isn't it? You have successfully completed your studies, have been working in a well-paid job for some time and lead a carefree life. You have your expenses under control, your retirement provision is regulated and you have been together with your girlfriend for several years. You may even be working on your first child.

You are lucky Not true? You are sure to be envious of your friends. Isn't it about time to get the hang of it and lead your loved one to the altar? That would have enormous financial advantages. And besides, it would make happiness perfect (she says). Correct?

Well, let's see what you want to get into.

Unimportant? You marry for love. Everything else is irrelevant?

No, my dear. A marriage is a bet on the future and has to be thought from the end. And that's completely open. And because numbers don't lie, here's a look at divorce statistics:

Source: Wikipedia

The fact is: Over 40% of all marriages in Germany are divorced. Almost every second marriage fails sooner or later.

Is that not happening to you already? You love each other. Nothing in the world can separate you? Well, that's what 40 percent of those willing to marry thought at the time ...

Marriage is a tough contract

Perhaps the following will make you think: As soon as the registrar stands in front of you, you listen to his thoughtful words and finally place your Willi under this inconspicuous-looking piece of paper, you have completely unexpectedly and unasked another partner on board. Who is that supposed to be? The State!

Even if it doesn't look like it: Marriage is a tough contract, in which it is not you who set the rules, but the legislature. Of course, there's nothing in the fine print about that. But you will notice it at the latest when you sit with lawyers in front of a bad-tempered judge, instead of - as here - in front of a slowly purring (class) official.

Do you really want that?

Looked at differently: Would you ever voluntarily sign a contract that is vaguely worded, the terms of which you do not know exactly and which can only be dissolved (not terminated!) By a judge?

Would you voluntarily invest in a financial product that hardly yields any returns, but that has a 40 percent probability of a loss or total failure, or where you may even have to inject money over the years?

No? Why on earth do you want to make an exception here?

The legal regulations

A look inside Civil Code (BGB) and that Law on the Procedure in Family Matters (FamFG) brings disillusionment. Lots of inconspicuous-looking paragraphs determine your life from now on. Obligations are placed on you, rules are given and your freedom is restricted.

The fatal thing about it: As long as the marriage is going well, you hardly notice it. If it goes wrong, however, you've pulled the ass card. Even many married people have no idea what sword of Damocles hovers over them.

Let's take a look at some of the most important laws:

Community of profits (§ 1363 BGB ff.)

From now on you live in the property regime of the community of gains. Assets that you (or you) have earned during the marriage will not automatically become the common Assets (even if this is often handled differently in practice), but at the end of the community of gains there is an equalization. In the event of a divorce at the latest, it also becomes a legal entity common Capital. Then everyone gets half of that. Congratulations if, unlike your wife, you have done without many things and always saved diligently ...

By the way, assets also include securities and shared real estate. It becomes particularly exciting if one of you both continues to live in the same house after the separation (both in the land register and in the loan agreements) and you cannot agree on the market value. Delay tactics are used, expensive appraisers come into play and lawyers rub their hands in view of the high amount in dispute. Here too: Congratulations!

Maintenance (including § 1360 BGB)

Spouses are obliged to maintain each other. If it occurs to your godmother after the wedding that earning money is actually too exhausting or if you decide to become a housewife after having your first child, you have a problem. Because you owe her alimony even if you disagree with her decision. This is true during marriage and in the context of post-marital solidarity also beyond.

After a divorce (not separation!) There is the principle of personal responsibility (§1569 BGB) - only in practice this is restricted and largely canceled out by further paragraphs and vague legal formulations. If a judge has to decide on post-marital maintenance, it is at his discretion to what extent it reduces the amount and duration and / or limits it in time.

So much for your future financial planning security. I don't even want to start additional child support. A look at the Düsseldorf table is enough.

Pension equalization (§ 1587 BGB and VersAusglG)

In the event of a divorce, the pension adjustment is carried out ex officio by the court. So it cannot be dispensed with. Exceptions are only made for very short and childless marriages.

What's the matter?

All pension points that you have accumulated in the course of the marriage are added up to the pension points of your exes and divided by two. Depending on the duration of the marriage and especially in the case of single-income marriages or large wage differences, huge sums of money migrate from one pension account to the other.

As a rule of thumb, what you save during the marriage through joint tax assessment will be taken away from you in the end in the form of a future pension.

Fair? Actually already. It's just stupid if the taxes saved were consumed during the marriage. And if not, half of it will go to your wife anyway (see asset equalization). Oh yes, by the way, company or private contracts for old-age security, such as Riester pensions or life insurance policies with the right to choose from capital, are also included in the pension adjustment. Magnificent views, isn't it?

Custody (§ 1626 BGB ff.)

For the sake of completeness, this topic should also be mentioned here. Married parents automatically have joint custody. The common custody remains in principle after the divorce. If there are disagreements about the future center of life of the children, a decision can be made to the family court upon application. In most cases, the right to determine the place of residence is then transferred to one parent as part of joint custody.

The fight for the children is always the subject of the worst arguments that you can only hope that you will be spared.

Divorce and expense

A quick look at the actual divorce. This can be submitted to the responsible family court after the end of the year of separation. If no additional applications are made, a decision will only be made on the pension adjustment. But even then, court and lawyer fees of several thousand euros can often be expected - the exact amount being based on your income. If one of the parties involved makes additional requests, the costs are based on the respective amounts in dispute. In general, legal fees are disproportionately high in the event of a divorce, so that in wars of the Roses, entire assets can be destroyed. If your wife wants it, you have no chance of avoiding it.

So what can you do to avoid ending up like the rooster:

Tips for people who are willing to marry and who are married

  • I'll try again: Nobody has to get married in Germany. It is entirely up to you to decide. If you are only concerned with the emotional component, then book a vacation and marry your loved one somewhere on a beautiful South Sea island - without any legal effect. If your facial features slip away at this suggestion, take your legs in your hand and run ...
  • Inform you in front the wedding about what might happen in the event of a divorce. You started here. Nevertheless, please read through a few stories from those affected and take a look at the break-up FAQ.
  • Marry under none Circumstances of a woman who is unable to support herself even before marriage. In the event of a divorce, you will finance her life with your alimony payments.
  • Don't get married for financial reasons. Tax advantages, increased allowances and free family insurance should never be the main drivers for a marriage. If you have the slightest doubt, just let it be.
  • The legally prescribed conditions can be adjusted by means of a marriage contract. It's unromantic, but in the event of a divorce you need a safety net so you don't end up like the rooster above. Don't be naive.
    Discuss the topics together and let yourself be in front legal advice for the wedding separately. The result should be a balanced marriage contract, which later cannot easily be cashed in by a judge for one-sidedness. A later adjustment in case of a changed life situation is possible at any time.
  • A Marriage settlementthat you do only among yourselves has no legal effect. This must be mandatory notarized become. You can't be naive or indulgent here. Trust that existed before and during the marriage no longer exists after a breakup. Resolutions from good times are quickly forgotten when your wife finds out from whisperers (friends with divorce experiences) or lawyers what is due to her.
  • Document your assets at the beginning of the marriage. In the event of a divorce, the initial assets are taken into account when calculating the equalization of profits.
  • Keep interdependencies to a minimum, even after the wedding. The more complicated your economic ties are, the more difficult and expensive it will be to break them up again in the event of a divorce. For better or worse, you will have to rely on the help of your wife, who may not be very kind to you.
  • Never let your wife control your finances alone. Always keep an overview of the assets, running costs and cash outflows.
  • Use your own checking account for incoming salaries and personal expenses (hobbies, shopping, etc.), to which only you have access. In the event of separation, the former partner will be happy to empty common accounts. If necessary, set up an additional household account.
  • Encourage your wife to save and build up her own retirement provision.
  • Make copies of your most important documents and keep them in a safe place outside of your home. You would not be the first to lose access to your documents in the event of a separation.
  • Live your life after the wedding just as you did before. Do not get into the process of so-called betaization. Women are true masters at making you unintentionally slippery-slippers. Read this book (not for female readers). Read it! Even if you don't have any marriage plans yet or your marriage is already in crisis, it will help you to maintain your partnership and continue it on an equal footing.
  • Prevent the gradual slipping into the classic distribution of roles (you breadwinner, you housewife). Should you have children, take parental leave. A temporary loss of money pays off again when your wife can start her career earlier.

Conclusion

Think about it three times whether you really want to give up part of your (financial) freedom and planning security and make your future life dependent on the decisions of another person. Do not trust the legal regulations and inform yourself in detail about the risks that a failed marriage can entail before making your decision. Minimize this through appropriate measures and a prenuptial agreement.

Otherwise, good luck you lucky guy! Write me an email if it pops ...