Home news Federal Court of Justice: Fast in-laws demand money back - Panorama

Federal Court of Justice: Fast in-laws demand money back – Panorama

  • The Federal Court of Justice negotiates in the case of a private donation.
  • A couple subsidizes the purchase of real estate of their daughter and their longtime friend with 100 000 €.
  • When the young couple separates, the parents demand 50,000 euros from the man.

From Wolfgang Janisch, Karlsruhe

Generosity is a beautiful but sometimes fleeting trait. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) is hearing a case this Tuesday about this case. For years, two young people from Brandenburg had lived together when their relationship was finally consolidated with a property. The parents of the young woman were so generous and contributed a good 100,000 euros.

Well, maybe it was just the skepticism, if the young luck without a solid investment in the future is really durable. Or it was like the boy later claimed in the lawsuit: that the parents-in-law only wanted to "park" their money in order not to be liable for their own parents' care costs. Anyway, came what had to come: As soon as the property was bought and the kitchen installed, the relationship broke up. The generosity had thus reached its expiration date: The near-son-in-law should pay back half of his home to the parents of the ex – almost 50 000 €.

Gifts in close family are, legally speaking, a difficult affair. What spouses give back and forth usually can not be reclaimed when they diverge. Only when very expensive gifts are rewarded with particularly gross meanness, can this exceptionally times go by as "gross ingratitude". This not only applies to the Brillantring, but also, for example, for decades of gratuitous cooperation in the operation of the partner. But the courts set strict standards here; The first fling of the partner normally does not trigger any claims for repayment.

U-turn in 2010: Gift as a kind of subsidy

Until nine years ago, the BGH acted similarly with the gifts of in-laws. Those who had shown themselves generous should not be allowed to reclaim their gifts later. However, with a landmark ruling of February 2010, the BGH reversed the issue, towards a much more economical view of the family ties.

If parents-in-law give money to the young people, then always in the expectation that the marriage will last, said the BGH; that was the "business basis". If the marriage breaks down, the business basis ceases to exist. The alleged gift is from the point of view of the BGH rather a kind of subsidy; if the purpose is missed, then the refund claims are triggered. The gift is, so to speak, the rather blatant attempt to help enduring happiness through financial pressure on son-in-law or daughter-in-law.

In the BGH hearing, it will probably also be about whether these – actually developed for marriage – rules are applicable to non-marital partnerships. The prevented in-laws seem to have made no head about the subject of marriage. A marriage, home or not, was not intended, but the father of the young woman should still have said: "You get the money anyway at some point, then you can take it already now."

The question remains, how much you have to repay in such cases. According to BGH, discounts are possible if the "purpose" of the gift pursued by the parents-in-law – lifelong cohabitation – has been achieved at least a little. The Higher Regional Court of Brandenburg, the lower court in the process, has developed a curious formula from it: the daughter lived in the property for four years, so that the "purpose" was reached to 8.4 percent – because the two had to live according to mortality statistics for almost five decades ,

"It escapes human knowledge, whether life is unworthy or not"

The Federal Court of Justice negotiates whether a doctor must pay compensation for suffering, because he let a patient live on meaningless. Now it is becoming apparent that the BHG could overturn the decision of the lower court.By Wolfgang Janisch


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