Separation and divorce from a partner unravel the marital and family structure that was previously in place. This situation gives rise to a whole range of issues that not only pertain to planning how life will be lived in the future but that also involve serious financial challenges. Important issues that Christian Kasten, as a lawyer for family law, can resolve together with and for his clients are the statutory equalisation of pensions, the equalisation of accrued gains, custody and access rights.
The statutory equalisation of pensions involves identifying all the marital partners’ future pension rights that were acquired during the marital period and that are to be equalised between the marital partners as part of the divorce settlement. Unmarried couples are not entitled to the statutory equalisation of pensions.
As opposed to the statutory equalisation of pensions, the equalisation of accrued gains relates to the equalisation of the assets generated by the marital partners during the marriage. The equalisation of accrued gains is performed only within the framework of the statutory marital property regime of the community of accrued gains. Unmarried couples are not entitled to the equalisation of accrued gains. The accrued gains during the marital period are identified for each marital partner. There is no such thing as negative accrued gains. The accrued gains of the marital partner who has accrued the lesser value are subtracted from the accrued gains of the other marital partner. Half of this difference constitutes the equalisation of accrued gains entitlement. The complexity of calculating the equalisation of accrued gains is in determining the original and final assets of each of the marital partners.
If the marriage or partnership has produced children, custody and access rights issues arise after the separation. Questions concerning parentage may also be raised. If a child is born during a marriage, the husband is deemed to be the child’s father. Should paternity be in doubt, especially if a child is born after the marital partners have separated, it may be advisable to contest paternity for maintenance and inheritance reasons. If a child is born as a result of a non-marital partnership, acknowledgement of paternity can establish and protect the rights of the father and ensure that paternal obligations are defined and met.