In this article you will find various tips and hints to help you find your way through the German bureaucratic jungle. All bold words are linked to our Glossary, where you can also find help on how and where to apply for certain funds. We start with the birth and the rights of expectant mothers, what to do to get custody of both parents, how to get a place in a kindergarten and what financial support you can apply for if you suddenly find yourself alone with your child
What rights do I have as an expectant mother?
Maternity benefit is paid to mothers who are supported when the Maternity Protection Act applies and they can no longer pursue their previous professional activity for reasons of protection, for the benefit of the mother and the unborn child. The Maternity protection period protects you for a few weeks before and after giving birth, so that your employer is obliged to release you from work without jeopardising your job or fear of dismissal. In some cases, you can also be prohibited from working, for example if you are pregnant and you are doing something that could put you at risk
How can I prepare for the birth?
You're pregnant? Then nothing like your first preventive medical check-up with your gynaecologist. Here you will receive a Maternity Passport, which contains all relevant information about your pregnancy. You will therefore take part regularly in the Preventive medical checkups to ensure that you and the unborn child are well. In order to prepare for the birth, it is recommended that you attend a Birth preparation course. You can participate together with your partner and get to know other expectant mothers. This can help you to talk about your fears and worries and you learn a lot about the birth process and what to expect. Such courses are for example offered by Midwives (many Midwives advertise this on their website, just have a look around what is available in your area) and are partly subsidised by health insurance companies (please check with your health insurance company). Even after the birth, the development of your child up to the age of 18 is monitored at regular intervals in so-called U-examinations. This development is documented in the Child Examination Booklet (U-Booklet). You can obtain further information from your paediatrician
Do both parents automatically have Custody?
After the birth you will receive a Birth certificate (please keep it safe) and at this point at the latest the Recognition of paternity (relevant for unmarried couples) should be initiated if this has not already happened during pregnancy. In this way joint custody can be secured for the good of your child. If you are unsure, you can apply for a guardianship agreement, which is available to you in an advisory capacity
I want to stay at home with my child for some time after the birth, how is that possible?
The Parental leave leaves you free from your employer for the time after the birth, so you can concentrate fully on the newborn child. The so-called parental allowance is financed by the state and gives you a secure income for this period. Both must be applied for in advance. Please have a look at our glossary. If you and your family are in over your head (especially if you have health problems), you can apply for a Cure (mother-child cure / father-child cure). This allows you to take some time off and helps you to cope with your current life situation better. Under certain circumstances, you are also entitled to Family benefits
My partner and I live separately, what financial support can I apply for?
If mother and father live separately, childcare support can be claimed, which enables the parent to receive financial support. Otherwise, it is possible to apply for an advance on maintenance payments at the local Youth Welfare Office. This can be a support for single parents. If you are a single parent and receive benefits from the job centre, you can apply for additional single parent support at your local job centre. If you are receiving unemployment benefit II, you can apply for financial support, e.g. for initial equipment for the baby, at the Job Centre
I need a daycare place for my child, what are my options?
In order for your child to be admitted to a third-party childcare facility (such as a daycare centre, kindergarten or children's shop), it is necessary to apply for a Childcare place. In some federal states, such as Hamburg or Berlin, you can apply for a Kita-Gutschein. This allows a state subsidy for the necessary childcare time, which is based on your working hours (full-time/part-time). The more hours you work, the longer you are entitled to care for your child
Please bear in mind that the topics can only be touched upon briefly in these paragraphs. If you are unsure, have questions or need further support, please contact our Coaching team - they will be happy to help you!
Our Glossary will be continuously expanded for you with new terms.
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