Equalization of pensions (Versorgungsausgleich)

Claims for old age provision (private or state pension systems) are equalized.  This is done automatically by the court if one of the spouses is a German. In other cases you have to apply for that.

The typical case here  is that both spouses have worked in Germany and now have claims against the German state pension system (Deutsche Rentenversicherung). They also may have additional claims from a private pension insurance (private Rentenversicherung) or against their employer (Betriebsrente). The family court will get information on the amount of all these claims and make a binding ruling on how these claims are shared. One of the spouses may lose some retirement benefits, while the other gains a better retirement standing. 

The Versorgungsausgleich can be waived by the spouses if both are represented by a lawyer. This makes sense, if the pension claims are very small or run to about the same amount.