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Reforming the Marriage and Family Code (July 9, 1971)

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Pension Rights Adjustment

The new approach to pension rights adjustment shall guarantee the equal participation of divorced spouses in rights to old age and disability pensions that were accrued during the marriage. The principles of surplus equalization that have proven successful since 1958 and which correspond to a marriage partnership are expanded in the government draft to include the pension expectancy of the spouses. This should raise the social security of the spouse who gives up his or her own professional development, and the accompanying old age and related disability pensions, in order to devote time to the family.

The present bill constitutes the first part of a cohesive reform package, which, in addition to the material marriage and family code, also encompasses the procedures in marriage cases and changes in the social security law. All parts shall enter into force at the same time. The changes in the procedural law and social insurance law that are still outstanding shall soon be introduced in separate drafts. I myself regret that it was unfortunately not possible to submit them to the legislative bodies together with the bill to be discussed today. It would have otherwise threatened the plans of the federal government to implement the reform during this legislative period.

In the Federal Ministry of Justice a bill on the procedural law is about to be completed. It should be sent to the justice administrations of the federal states shortly and will be discussed with them. The bill is based on the following principles:

1. One and the same court – the family court – is responsible for the divorce judgment and the regulation of the divorce outcomes. The family court shall be formed as a special department of the municipal court.

2. The petition for divorce and the regulation of the outcomes shall be negotiated together and decided at the same time. A separation of the outcomes to be handled separately shall be possible only under narrow prerequisites.

Regulations of the outcomes to be decided by the family court shall include the following, in particular:

the assignment of parental custody for common children,
ruling on visitation rights,
children’s maintenance,
alimony for the divorced spouse,
adjudication of a pension rights adjustment,
the division of the household.

[ . . . ]

Source: “Entwurf eines Ersten Gesetzes zur Reform des Ehe- und Familienrechts vor dem Bundesrat” [“Draft of the First Law for Reforming the Marriage and Family Code before the Bundesrat”] (July 9, 1971); reprinted in Arnold Harttung, et al., ed., Willy Brandt, Zum sozialen Rechtsstaat. Reden und Dokumente. [Willy Brandt. On the Social Constitutional State. Speeches and Documents]. Berlin, 1983, pp. 176-78.

Translation: Allison Brown

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