Couples, Parents, Children and the State: Defining Family Obligations in Germany (The International Project on Family Changes and Family Policies)
Who should support whom financially? Who is obliged to care for others-a partner, children or family members-under different circumstances? And how are obligations and rights distributed between the state and families? These are central issues of welfare state and family regulation. Relevant German legal institutions in the areas of family law, social security and welfare regulations, tax law and some service provisions are scrutinized in depth in this paper. Major relationships, which may create rights or legal obligations, are investigated: marriage and cohabitation, parents and their dependent children, public support for the costs of children and public care, access to divorce and financial obligations after divorce, adult children and their dependent parents, as well as disruptions to independence (e.g. unemployment and illness). This paper is a revised version of the German contribution to the international research project 'Defining Family Obligations in Europe', directed by Jane Millar, University of Bath/UK.