Pension equalization – fair sharing in pensions

Pension entitlements from marriage or partnership are divided in the event of divorce.

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  • What is pension equalization??
  • Types of division in pension equalization
  • Divorce abroad
  • Effects on the pension amount
  • Special cases in pension equalization
  • To the topic

What is pension equalization??

Pension entitlements, for example, pension entitlements that you and your former partner acquired during your marriage or partnership, are considered a joint lifetime achievement. They therefore belong to both of you in equal shares. If you divorce, all pension entitlements of both partners are equalized in the pension equalization process. The aim is for both of you to end the marriage or partnership with the same number of pension entitlements.

The family court makes the decision

After expiration of the appeal period, this decision becomes effective and is thus binding for you, your former partner and us. We and other insurers implement the pension equalization according to the court’s specifications and inform you about the concrete effects on your pension account.

If an entitlement acquired during the marriage or civil partnership changes significantly at a later date, the family court can amend the pension rights adjustment upon request. Divorced spouses or civil partners, their surviving dependents and the pension providers concerned can apply for this.

Pension equalization for civil partnerships:

These rules also apply to all registered civil partnerships that have existed since 1. were established on January 1, 2005. If you entered into a civil partnership earlier, pension equalization does not apply. Exception: You have until 31. If you have applied for pension equalization before the district court on December 12, 2005, in the event that your partnership is dissolved.

Types of division in pension equalization

The family court determines whether and to what extent pension entitlements are deducted from a former partner and credited to the other partner. As a result of the pension rights adjustment, the pension for one of the two may be reduced and the pension for the other increased accordingly.

In most cases, the pension rights from the statutory pension insurance are settled in an internal division. External divisions are less common.

It may also be the case that pension equalization does not take place due to reasons for exclusion or a direct agreement between the spouses or partners.

Internal division

For most couples, the pension equalization takes place for claims from the statutory pension insurance as internal division instead of. In this case, each partner gives half of his or her rights acquired during the marriage or partnership period to the other partner. Both receive their own entitlements as a result.

If both of you have acquired pension rights with the same pension provider during the marriage or partnership, the provider will offset the acquired and surrendered pension rights against each other after the court decision and inform you of this.

External division

If you and your partner are insured with different pension providers, the pension rights may be divided externally in exceptional cases. In this case, the pension rights are transferred from the pension provider of your partner to a pension provider of your choice.

This may be the case if the retiring partner has acquired pension rights with several insurers and the retiring partner has acquired his or her "new" pension rights you would like to pool your rights with one institution.
If the institutions of the civil service pension of local and state government do not explicitly provide for the internal division, entitlements there are compensated by the external division.

You can decide yourself with which pension provider your new rights should be established. If you do not select an institution, your new pension rights will be managed by the statutory pension insurance fund. In the case of an occupational pension, the relevant pension equalization fund will manage your new entitlements.

Reasons for excluding pension equalization

In some cases, it is possible that the court did not carry out a pension equalization at the time of your divorce. These so-called grounds for exclusion are:

Short marriage
If you were only married for three years or less, pension equalization will only take place if you or your former partner apply for it at the family court.

Please note, however, that in addition to your agreement, you also need the decision of the family court on a pension equalization, which implements your agreement. Equalization under the law of obligations is intended for rights that were not equalized during the divorce. In this case, the former partners must assert their claims directly among themselves.

Divorce abroad

If your marriage was divorced abroad, a German family court can carry out pension equalization retroactively. This does not happen automatically. At least one of your former partners must apply for pension equalization. Most important condition:

  • You or your former partner have German citizenship or had it at the time of the marriage or civil partnership.

If you, your former partner, or your former partner have a foreign nationality and do not meet the above requirement, then the following requirements for pension equalization apply:

  • You or he (respondent) has filed for divorce from the court after 31. If you received your pension on August 1, 1986 (before August 1, 1986). September 1986, pension equalization is also possible, but under different conditions).
  • You or your former partner have acquired German pension rights.
  • The country in which you were divorced does not recognize pension equalization.
  • Pension equalization is not contrary to equity. That is, it does not endanger the economic livelihood of the former partner.

Applying for pension rights adjustment

Where you have to file your application for pension equalization in the event of a divorce abroad depends on where you live, respectively. Where your former partner. Your former partner is alive:

  • Do you and your former partner live. your former partner abroad, submit your application here:

Schoneberg Local Court
-Family Court-
Grunewaldstrabe 66 – 67
10823 Berlin

  • Do you or your former partner live in Germany or. your former partner live in Germany, file the application with the family court that has jurisdiction over the German place of residence.

recognize the divorce

Pension equalization only takes place between divorced spouses. This is why the family court first checks whether the foreign divorce decree is legally valid in Germany or whether the divorce must first be recognized under German law.

Recognition is usually required if both spouses are not exclusively nationals of the state whose court granted the divorce (dual nationality). Decisions in a member state of the European Union (except Denmark) have been taken into account since 1.3.automatically recognized in 2001. A special procedure is no longer required there.

  • If you or your former partner live in. your former partner in Germany, the judicial administration of your federal state will recognize the divorce.
  • If neither you nor your former partner live or. Your former partner in Germany, contact this office for recognition:

Effects on the pension amount

If the family court’s decision on pension equalization becomes effective, your pension will increase or decrease. The decisive factor for the timing of the change is whether you or your former partner or. your former partner is already receiving a pension at that time.

  • Not yet retired
  • You are not yet retired at the time of the court’s decision: The increase or decrease in your pension rights is determined, but will not be implemented until you retire.
  • You are not yet retired, but the pension adjustment provides for a reduction in your pension: You can compensate for the minus in full or in part by making voluntary contributions. However, this is only possible as long as you have not yet reached the standard retirement age. You will find details on this in your cover letter on the implementation of pension equalization.
  • You are already retired at the time of the court decision: Your pension is increased or reduced from the month at the beginning of which the court decision takes effect.
  • You and your former partner already receive a pension when you divorce: For technical reasons, we will only adjust both pensions at the end of the month following the month in which we received notification from the family court. This is how we avoid double payments, because the reductions need a certain lead time. However, your money is not lost: You can reclaim the missing increase in your pension from your former partner under private law.

Special cases of pension equalization

Adjustment cases are special cases in pension equalization. If you are a special case, the pension equalization rules may be suspended. In this case, your pension will not be reduced, only partially or only temporarily. Adjustment cases take effect even if the family court has already decided on the amount of the reduction at the time of the divorce.

These adjustment cases only affect entitlements of the so-called standard security systems. These include:

  • the statutory pension insurance,
  • the civil service pension scheme,
  • occupational pension schemes (e.g. doctors’ pension schemes),
  • old-age insurance for farmers, and
  • the pensions of members of parliament and government.

Adjustment cases must be applied for! Please submit your application for an adjustment case to us or to the pension provider who pays your reduced pension or benefits. In cases of alimony, the family court is the right contact here.

Maintenance claim of the former partner

If your former partner has a maintenance claim against you and is not yet receiving a pension (with entitlements from pension rights adjustment), your pension will not be reduced or will only be reduced in part by pension rights adjustment. The reduction can be suspended to a maximum of the amount of the maintenance claim.

In this case, please contact the family court. Your pension will then be recalculated on the basis of the family court’s decision.

pension due to reduced earning capacity or reaching a special age limit

If you are entitled to a pension for reduced earning capacity or an old-age pension other than the standard old-age pension, and if you had to give up rights to your former partner as a result of pension equalization? In this case, your pension would generally be reduced due to pension equalization.

However, if you have received entitlements from another institution that you cannot yet claim because you do not yet meet the benefit requirements, you would initially only have to bear the negative consequences of pension equalization. The adjustment would only come into effect later.

Your pension reduction may be suspended in whole or in part upon request. The amount in which the reduction can be suspended depends on the amount of the pension that you cannot yet claim. The pension provider who pays the pension to be reduced is responsible for carrying out the adjustment.

However, as soon as you can draw the benefit transferred from your former partner, you are obliged to inform us about it. The suspension of your pension reduction is then lifted.

Death of the former partner

If your former partner has died and has not received any pension or has received no more than 36 months of pension from the entitlements you transferred, your pension will not be reduced or. Your reduction is reversed. About the so-called "adjustment due to death the statutory pension insurance decides or. the pension provider who pays your pension.

this adjustment is linked to your person. Therefore it expires with your death. This means that if a survivor’s pension is paid out of your pension account, the reduction from the pension equalization will be taken into account again for its calculation.


Divorced persons: Compensation for pension

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When married couples separate, the values they have earned together must be divided fairly between them. To compensate for pension rights acquired during the marriage, for example in the statutory pension insurance or in the civil servant pension, a so-called pension equalization takes place. You can find more information in this brochure.

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