Equalization of marital gains (Güterrecht, Zugewinnausgleich).

In case of a marriage before the 29.1.2019 the laws of the joint citizenship apply to this.

Spouses from Great Britain that have their marriages divorced in Germany could claim an equalization of marital gains / assets according to the UK law. At least that´s the basic principle. Since UK courts usually apply UK family law to all divorce proceedings in the UK without taking the citizenship of the spouses into account, German courts may apply German law on British subjects.

Spouses living in Germany, but not being German citizens can usually choose the German law to apply to all aspects of their marriage including the equalization of marital gains. This often makes a lot of sense, as the German law on the equalization of marital gains is quite simple and easy to enforce, compared to other countries.

In case the German law on the equalization of marital gains applies, the basic principles are these:

- There are no jointly owned marital assets with the exception of joint bank accounts, houses (only if both spouses are registered as owners) or household items (including a family car). Whatever assets one of the spouses has acquired during the marriage, are only his assets, they are not jointly owned assets.

- This makes the equalization of marital gains quite simple, as the resulting claim always runs to the payment of a certain amount of money.

A basic example:

Both husband and wife have separate bank accounts, from the time before the marriage. They´ve married on 1.1.2010. The marriage procedure started on 1.1.2020. Both spouses have no assets other than what is in their bank accounts.

The balance of the accounts looks like this:


1.1.2010                                                                5.000,00 €

1.1.2020                                                              100.00,00 €


1.1.2010                                                                5.000,00 €

1.1.2020                                                              50.000,00 €

The husband has gained 95.000,00 € during the marriage and the wife 45.000,00 €. The difference is 50.000,00 €. The husband would have to pay her 25.000,00 €. Both would end up with 70.000,00 € after the equalization of the gains which have been acquired during the marriage.