Nursing home accommodation must not financially overwhelm spouses

Nursing home accommodation must not financially overwhelm spouses

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BGH: Maintenance is to be measured in the same way as for couples living separately
Karlsruhe (jur). If one spouse is accommodated in a nursing home, the other partner must not be excessively burdened with the nursing costs. Even if the partner is still committed to marital solidarity, he is entitled to an “appropriate deductible” and not just the subsistence minimum, the Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe decided in a recently published decision of April 27, 2016 (file number: XII ZB 485 / 14).

In the specific case, a wife had to be cared for in a care center. The monthly care costs of 3,923 euros were largely borne by the social welfare agency. The complaining wife, represented by a caregiver, asked that her husband contribute 132 euros a month to the nursing home costs. Reason: The pensioner is obliged to "family maintenance" and must therefore pay a corresponding share of his 1,043 euro pension

However, the husband wanted to pay less. Because of the permanent placement of his wife in a nursing home, he should be treated as if he were separated from her. According to the relevant guidelines of the Higher Regional Court (OLG) Hamm, he is entitled to a “reasonable deductible” of 1,000 euros.

The applicant argued that the husband was not separated from her. He was therefore obliged to support the family according to the principle of "marital solidarity" and had to pay more.

The OLG decided that the pensioner was not only entitled to the subsistence minimum, but also to a “reasonable deductible” of 1,000 euros. He therefore had to pay only 43 euros maintenance per month. The court was guided by maintenance rates for married couples living separately.

The BGH has now confirmed this. The husband is obliged to support the family. This can normally be provided in the form of benefits in kind, such as food and accommodation, and includes everything "necessary for housekeeping and to cover the personal needs of the spouse and any children," the BGH said. This could entail higher maintenance obligations than for couples living separately. However, these regulations relate to the normal case of living together at home.

The situation is different in the case of inpatient care. In the case of non-separated couples, a "higher level of marital solidarity than that after the separation was required". In the case of inpatient nursing home accommodation, the person liable for maintenance should not be excessively burdened with the care costs. Exceptionally, a cash pension had to be paid because of the home and care costs incurred.

If family maintenance and separation maintenance differed in this nursing situation, the spouse who decided to separate from the spouse in need of care would be better off. This would then be further affected. The OLG had therefore correctly determined the maintenance to be paid by the pensioner and his deductible. fle / mwo

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