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Facts and Findings

How much responsibility does the “Community of responsibility” hold?

Responsibility, but without legal protection in case of separation

According to the coalition agreement (2021-2025), the major reform of family law planned by the Federal government will include the new legal institution of the “Community of responsibility” (“Verantwortungsgemeinschaft”) for an unlimited number of persons. Its main characteristics will be the easy conclusion as well as quick separation. As the planning goes, the Community of responsibility will offer marriage-like tax privileges whilst avoiding any regulations  for the period after the separation to protect those individuals who have provided unpaid care or nursing.

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The newly planned legal institution of the "community of responsibility" aims to create legal protections for life forms beyond marriage. The Government holds, that the new legal institution is necessary because of a distinct change in life forms in Germany. This however can only be empirically proven as regards the rise of non-marital couple-relationships, but these in particular are not supposed to belong to the Community of responsibility.

The Community of responsibility will draw on a multi-level system, in which members are expected to grant each other information and representation rights, up to maintenance agreements. However, no provisions are intended in case of separation or for children.

Tax privileges similar to marriage are intended, the upper limit should be the status quo of marriage. Consequently, members of a Community of responsibility could thus gain tax benefits in good times, while in bad times, such as seperation, the risks would have to be borne by the public sector.

The concept does not include “light marriage” and polygamous life forms should be excluded from the Community of responsibility says Government, but the concept lacks clear distinctions or limitations in this regard. If the Community of responsibility is taking the notion of responsibility seriously, it requires legal regulations that protect the more vulnerable members of the community in case of separation.

Read the entire analysis: “How much responsibility does the “Community of responsibility”) hold?” here as a PDF.


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George Hodan /
January 23, 2023
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The series informs in a concentrated form about important positions of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung on current topics. The individual issues present key findings and recommendations, offer brief analyses, explain the Foundation's further plans and name KAS contact persons.


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