AGF takes position to Advanced Child Maintenance

[17. 2. 2012] The recent draft law on simplifing bureaucracy of advanced child maintenance is critisised by the AGF. The planned changes will hardly lead to improvements for the children of single parents. Basic problems remain unsolved.

The Federal Government will in future consider payments to third parties when advanced child maintenance is applied for. Thus, there will be increasing possibilities to replace cash benefits by benefits in kind. The AGF underlines that payments to third parties are much less reliable and much harder to verify than direct benefits. In addition, single parents and their children lose a part of their decision-making authority. The AGF therefore calls for ensuring minimum maintenance for a child via direct, clear and immediate cash benefits.

The AGF also criticises the proposed calculation of excess payment periods as well as the repeal of retroactive payments. Separation and divorce are particularly stressful life situations, in which conflicts are often battled out by misusing the payment of child maintenance. This pressure and the resulting confusion may preclude timely application.

From the perspective of AGF, fundamental reforms of advanced child maintenance payments are required, which are not at all addressed in the federal governments draft law. In particular, there is a need for action where the calculation of the child benefit, the benefit period and the eligibility age of the child are concerned.

In general, the family organisations combined in the AGF welcome the intention to remove the bureaucracy from the regulations on child maintenance payments and to further simplify the access to this important family-policy instrument. Unfortunately, the government’s present draft does not achieve that goal.

The draft law has already been discussed at the Bundesrat and has now been passed on to the German Parliament.

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