Five Tips For Single Mothers to Manage Finance

Separated, divorced, widowed, living alone from the start – no matter what your living conditions look like, the important question for all single-parent families is: How can everything be reconciled? Here Are some tips for you.

Tip 1: Don’t be afraid of less money!

As a single mother, you should exhaust all financing options. To do this, however, you have to consider many things, go to the authorities and make applications. You may even have to enforce your claims against bureaucratic hurdles or non-paying dependents. Sometimes with success, sometimes without.

First example: The “Strong Family Law” opened the child supplement for single parents and middle-income families in 2020. That means: If your application has so far been rejected, it can now be worthwhile to submit it again.

Second example: Half of all single parents receive no, another 25 percent either irregularly or too little money from the parent who is responsible for maintenance. This is one of the main reasons for the high risk of poverty. In such cases, however, the state steps in with the maintenance advance. You have to apply for this at the youth welfare office and it will then be paid to you monthly.

How single parents get their rights

You can find more information on maintenance law, child allowance, Child Custody, housing allowance and so on.

Tip 2: Good organization is everything!

In order not to lose sight of the overview, it is best to use simple tools that do their job: a good calendar, folders for applications and paperwork (with registry) and a budget planner. You can do this online or the classic way with a household book and calculator, the main thing is that there is still money left over at the end of the month.

Organize childcare

To really start work, you need to regulate childcare. There are hardly any alternatives for single parents. The good news is that childcare costs for the daycare , childminder or after-school care are covered under certain conditions. The contacts are the youth welfare offices, which also provide information about day care groups. Single parents are often given preferential treatment – so be sure to say so! There is also a legal right to childcare for under three year olds.

Tip 3: together you are less alone!

You don’t have to start from scratch – team up with other single parents. Where can you find them? There are of course online groups in which you can have a look around, but the advice centers and the social service For women also help to establish contacts. Men can also turn to them, no question! To find the right point of contact at your location, simply enter your location or postcode in the address search box on this page. Another good place to find like-minded people is the course “Children in sight”  for separated parents, which is offered at many advice centers!

Tip 4: Treat yourself!

As a single parent you have several jobs at the same time: work, household, parenting – but if at some point you run out of strength, where should the strength for your children come from? So it is very important that you take care of yourself and take your time to recharge your batteries.

Alimony advance for single parents

An important step against child poverty: Single parents can apply for a maintenance advance. This applies to everyone who does not receive regular or no maintenance from the other parent.

After a separation, many single parents receive no support from the parent who is responsible for maintenance. The state steps in to pay if the maintenance father or mother does not pay. The youth welfare office then transfers a maintenance advance to the one-parent family. 

In the past, the subscription period was limited to six years and was not intended for children from the age of 12, but these benefits have improved since a 2017 reform

The amount of the advance on maintenance depends on the age of the child and the so-called minimum maintenance. This is redefined every two years by the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection. The child benefit paid for the first child is deducted from this minimum maintenance.

Orphan’s benefits received by a child after the death of one parent and child support payments from the other parent (if, for example, the child only pays in part) are deducted from the advance on maintenance payments. Other income of the child and the maintenance of the single parent with whom the child lives are not deducted.

A child receives a maintenance advance:

  • if it lives with a single parent and does not receive maintenance from the other parent, only partially or not regularly, in the amount of the statutory minimum maintenance.
  • if he lives with one of his parents who is single, widowed or divorced or who is permanently separated from his spouse or partner.

Tip 5: Get advice!

  • What does minimum maintenance mean and what happens when the child reaches the age of majority?
  • If there is not enough money to support the child, you can apply for social allowance, social assistance, child allowance and housing benefit or free cars for single mothers assistance programs. How and where and under what conditions?
  • In addition, there are many foundations that offer help, some of which also provide financial support. Which and how to apply?

All these questions cannot be answered in a video – and googling is also not enough. Be sure to take professional advice. In addition to the youth welfare office, you can also contact independent organizations, such as charities such as Goodwill, salvation army, the churches or non-profit organizations. As a rule, as with the youth welfare office, advice is free of charge.