No desire for marriage - more and more couples live together without being married. However, a few rules should also meet them. Otherwise it may happen that a partner after a separation stands empty handed. Reason enough to consider a partnership agreement.

Why a partnership?

Pair partnership agreement

Photo: © goodluz

It was the great love: 28 years old Karl and Valentina lived together. Together, the merchant and the physiotherapist two have raised children, but they never married. "We were both always very independent people; everyone had his job and that was very important for our relationship, "says Valentina. Together they wanted to grow old - but their happiness was cut short: Just 53 years old, Charles died of a heart attack. Valentina was standing there alone, because Karl had never made a will, she left empty-handed at the site. Even the common inhabited house she had to leave because Charles was the sole owner.

Although it is not particularly romantic: A few ground rules should settle unmarried couples. This is especially true if they have children together or in the event that the relationship goes to pieces. "Without some written agreements it is not in the long term most," says the Cologne lawyer Torsten Boderke. Because in many cases the partners are legally considered each other strangers. So get unmarried in the case of serious illness not provide information about the health of the partner. On the other hand both must stand up for common loan or the lease of an apartment. Therefore, I strongly advise to a partnership agreement. "

What can book a partnership agreement - and what is not?

A partnership agreement provides the ability to protect themselves legally and to regulate important issues of living together as needed. It can, for example, contain powers for the illness and death, determine the allocation of property and assets, but also define who is responsible for which tasks in the relationship and how the partner who for a time give up his job for raising children, social security cover becomes.

"A partnership agreement is a private law contract, which may contain very individual clauses. But he must always be in the context permitted by law, move, "said lawyer Boderke. "Therefore, any contrary provisions on custody of common children can be taken. Also Claims level of pensions can not be transferred at non-married couples. Adverse customs agreements as a waiver of maintenance for common children or agreements at the expense of third parties can even cause the entire contract is ineffective. "

Who owns what?

Home and household effects

Who needs to move out of their apartment in case of separation and what happens to a jointly paid bail, is a frequent dispute and should be the subject of the partnership agreement. This also applies to the division of jointly angeschafftem household.

Ideally, both partners are the main tenants of their apartment. Even those with moves into the apartment of the other, can subsequently still can be recorded as the main tenant in the contract. So you can just be shown the door not know if the relationship goes to pieces. Who takes off after a separation from their apartment in order, however, is not automatically exempt from its payment obligations; to the landlord and the other partner must first agree. Therefore, it makes sense to meet in the first place appropriate arrangements with the landlord.

Real estate and property

The dream of owning a home can quickly become a nightmare in the event of separation for couples without a marriage certificate or registered partnership: If only one of them as owner in the land registry has, the other off after the separation. And if no other agreement has been made, there is not even compensate for the money or the work performance, he or she has put into the property. "In order to ensure legal certainty here, there are two possibilities," explains Torsten Boderke: "Either both partners are entered into the land register or only one; the other is for the contract awarded to a lifelong right of abode. "

If one of the partners to contribute more to the financing of the property than the other, the ownership interest in the land may be fixed in the financing according to the share. It is also possible to create a loan balance. For example, Anna and Frank jointly acquire a property worth 300,000 euros. Anna contributes 200,000 euros to the fact Frank invested 100,000 euros. Now Frank can take a private loan agreement 50,000 euros to Anna - so have put into their homes in the end both the same amount of money.

At best, a separate credit

Speaking Loans: For unmarried couples, it is best if everyone receives an own credit for real estate purchase. But banks usually do not play with in such a financing model, as they are interested in a higher loan amount and at two debtors generally. In partnership agreement should be laid down in this case, who takes what share of interest and principal.

And what to do in case of separation with the common property? Maintains a partner's flat or house and pays the others? Or should the property sold and the proceeds be divided? On what? Counts only the share of the cost or practical work done? Similar questions arise also when it comes to divide the kitchen, the graphic collection, or other items. Therefore, it should be noted in the partnership agreement, which each has introduced at assets and property in the relationship and In Schafftes to be distributed as common. "Contracts for property and wealth can be very complicated. It is best to get professional advice, because money flows and legal formulations should be carefully considered, "says Torsten Boderke.

Children and maintenance

The reform, which has decided earlier this year to the Bundestag, joint custody is unmarried parents actually the norm - it couples can easily apply to the Youth Welfare Office. Parents without marriage have the same rights as married in principle. You are entitled to parental leave and money. You can make care expenses tax deductible and decide together what name carries the child. Also in the maintenance, there are at first glance little difference: the father because of the children of the profession, is her or him for only a period of four months to three years after birth Maintenance - Is the mother or - less frequently.

That was it but even with the similarities. Further claims, such as a supply or gain compensation as spouses, Maiden are not entitled. Especially women who give up their profession for a child temporarily fall here into a nasty trap, if they do not provide via partnership agreement for the compensation. You should work to ensure that they receive in case of separation longer keep that for them a private pension is terminated as a hedge or any financial compensation in another form. In addition to such questions, the couple can also make arrangements as to be distributed "family responsibilities" and who contributes what to the cost of living - the latter is particularly useful when both partners have a very different incomes.

Health care coverage

When a serious illness or after an accident with serious consequences for the other party's hands are tied, "Who, cohabitation 'lives in a gets no information about the health status, nor can it make any decisions, give some consent to surgery , For it is then often determined by its own motion a legal advisor.

To avoid this, a durable power of attorney is required. So that the partners can mutually grant power of attorney, which includes banking and government affairs. Appropriate forms can be found online. A notary must only be consulted when it comes to real estate ownership or equity interests. Just as important as a health care proxy is a living will, in which each determines for himself what medical measures are taken or to be omitted if it is no longer capable of making decisions.


Without the discount system in the survivor gets nothing for unmarried couples. Even after decades of partnership inherit only the next of kin of the deceased.

"To change this, non-married couples can make testamentary dispositions or putting on a contract of inheritance," lawyer Boderke recommends. "The difference: A will can only put each of the partners for themselves - and always change it later, enough a handwritten writing. An agreement, however, is binding on all the time; he can not subsequently be changed - not even by a later Testament "The agreements should be so thought through.. In addition, a succession contract is effective only if it has been authenticated by a notary. Fees vary according to the total value of the estate.

Whether wills or inheritance contract, a toad to swallow unmarried in any case: a maximum of 20,000 euros are exempt from inheritance; the rest of the State conceded with.



Tips for creating - Service

On the Internet, numerous fee-usually patterns partnership agreements are circulating. "However, these standard contracts are often not meet the individual life of couples," says Torsten Boderke. His recommendation: Consider once shared, which points are "important to them. You will see very quickly which you agree or where even discussion or consultation needed. Let professional advice in doubt about what is the right solution in your case and how they must be formulated legally watertight. And consider also that should be checked repeatedly whether the partnership agreement still matches your real life. "

A partnership agreement in principle does not need to be notarized - unless it comes to matters of inheritance or the transfer of land and real estate. A notarial deed has also the advantage that the agreements can be enforced and thus easier to enforce when the (ex-) partner should cross face. 

The cost: With a quite legal advice the so-called "Erstberatungsgebühr" of around 200 euros will be due in any case. The cost of setting up a contract then depend on the time required; the notarization is measured by the value which is the contractual agreement basis. For a property worth 300,000 euros which may be slightly above 1,000 euros.

By the way: a future marriage brings a perfect hedge. Who, for example, after the divorce would like more upkeep or would like to make special arrangements for the marital property, goes better with a prenuptial agreement. 

Further reading:

  • Alexandra Gosemärker: Only right! The guide to all legal questions about living together. Querverlag 2011 14.90 EUR
  • Nadja Oswald: partnership agreements between spouses: A practical consideration, including standard contract. AV Akademikerverlag 2012 59.00 EUR 
  • Finn Zwißler: couples without a marriage certificate. regulate finance and claims. With Pattern partnership agreement. Walhalla Fachverlag 2009, 8.95 euros 

Web links:

  • - date information on family law
  • - important information about the partnership agreement soon
  • - free sample for partnership agreement for download
  • - Information from the Federal Ministry of Justice to health care proxy and living will (with forms for download)