Finance – patchwork families should take care of emergencies – economy

Berlin (dpa / tmn) – Happy the second time: If an unmarried couple moves in together and both partners bring children from previous relationships, there is often talk of a patchwork family. What can then get lost in the hustle and bustle is the clarification of important legal issues in emergency situations. But it’s important.

This includes the valid will of both partners. If this is not the case, statutory succession applies in the event of death. “But that’s usually not what the partners want,” says Berlin family law expert Eva Becker. Because legal succession means that only spouses and relatives inherit – and here, above all, biological children. Without a will, a living partner in a mixed family gets nothing.

Through a will, partners may defend heirs or stipulate that the survivor will receive a certain amount per month from the deceased’s estate. You can revoke your last will at any time without your partner knowing. A more binding alternative would be an inheritance contract. This can only change both partners together.

The legal situation in mixed families is often complicated

The question of what happens to minors in a patchwork family in the event of death also needs to be clarified at an early stage. If nothing is agreed, the deceased partner’s children cannot stay in a mixed family. “In that case, the care would always go to the biological parent, the ex-partner,” says Becker. According to the Federal Chamber of Notaries, it does not matter whether the parents are still married or living separately.

In the event of the death of the second biological parent, the family court appoints a guardian for the minor child or children. If you take precautions early on, you can prevent this from happening.

Since there are many complex legal issues, especially with patchwork families, and every case is different, couples should definitely seek legal advice. “Anyone who works with samples from the Internet, for example, is most likely wrong when it comes to wills,” warns Martin Thelen of the Federal Chamber of Notaries in Berlin.

Adopting a stepchild can be a way to ensure safety

If an unmarried couple wants their biological children to stay in their former environment in an emergency, adopting a stepson is an option. From the beginning of 2020, unmarried partners can adopt their partners’ children. “The adoptive parent has all the rights and obligations of a biological parent – first and foremost, the right to care and contact,” explains Thelen.

Thanks to this, even in the event of the biological parent’s death, the adoptive parent can take care of all the matters of the child. However, it also fulfills all obligations. “For example, he is responsible for keeping a child, even if the couple are breaking up,” says Thelen. The child also becomes the statutory heir, and thus also the person entitled to a part of the reserved share.

From Thelen’s point of view, adopting a stepson only makes sense if the relationship is as strong as it is with your own biological child. In addition, the child should be willing to relinquish the relationship with the other biological parent and his relatives. “These relationships are basically shattered by the adoption of a stepson,” says Thelen.

Biological parents must consent to the adoption of a stepson

One of the basic conditions for adopting a stepchild in non-married families: “It must be for the child’s best interests,” says Eva Becker. Moreover, it is expected that a parent-child relationship will develop between the adopter and the child. The family court decides. In non-marital relationships, a partner can accept a stepson only if they “live in a stable relationship and in a common household,” says Thelen.

By law, a solid partnership usually exists if life partners have lived together like a married couple for at least four years. For the shorter period of their life together, but also when the couple buys real estate together, Thelen says. “Conversely, an established partnership does not exist if one partner is still married to another,” says a spokesman for the Federal Chamber of Notaries. Biological parents must consent to the adoption of a stepson.

What else is important in patchwork families: “Settle your life together by contract early on,” advises Becker. For example, specify who should own what in case of separation. “Any maintenance claims should also be agreed in the contract,” Becker said.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220520-99-368401 / 2

Leave a Comment