In the event of a divorce, a pension equalization is usually due. Then the legal and private entitlements to pensions from the years of marriage are divided. Nevertheless, under certain conditions, divorced persons can receive an unreduced pension.
If a marriage fails, the big arithmetic begins. In addition to any maintenance costs and the division of material goods acquired during the marriage, a pension adjustment is usually due. Unless this has not been expressly excluded. If this is not the case, all pension entitlements acquired during the marriage will be divided equally between the two spouses and offset against each other by the family court. This applies to both statutory and private pension insurance, company pension schemes and pension entitlements from civil servants.
An insured person's pension that is reduced due to a pension equalization may also be paid in full: If the former spouse whose pension entitlements have increased as a result of the pension equalization dies, the pension of the party obliged to equalize can be paid in full in future upon application. The prerequisite is that the deceased has not received an increased pension for more than three years as a result of the pension equalization.
The adjustment of the pension is only possible from the month following the application, which is why care should be taken to submit an application to the responsible pension insurance or pension provider as quickly as possible.
In some cases, the court may not carry out a pension equalization in the event of a divorce. These so-called exclusion reasons are:
If the marriage only lasted three years or less, a pension equalization will only take place if one or both former partners apply to the family court.
If the entitlements of the ex-partner are predominantly of equal value or if the entitlements are individual, insignificant, the family court will not settle the matter.
But even in the case of gross misconduct on the part of a spouse, there is usually no compensation.
In principle, however, married couples can also make their own arrangements for structuring their pension provision in the event of a divorce. In order to be valid in court, these must be certified by a notary. In this way, a pension equalization can also be completely ruled out. However, this is only recognized in court if there is a comparable compensation. This is to avoid a partner being severely disadvantaged or requiring government assistance in old age.
Otherwise, the equalization of pensions serves to compensate for inequalities in the married couple's working life - for example, if the woman mainly takes care of the children together, has no income of her own and therefore pays less into the pension fund. Then, when it comes to pensions and maintenance, the law will ensure that this commitment to the family is not to the detriment of that partner.
It should be noted that only claims that the court is aware of are taken into account in the pension rights adjustment. It is true that each spouse must tell the court all pension providers from whom he has entitlements, which the court then transmits to the other partner for verification. However, if an entitlement has been forgotten and remains unnoticed by the soon-to-be ex-spouse, this does not subsequently lead to a change in the defined pension equalization.
(This article was first published on Thursday, January 05, 2023.)