The new social model could make committed platonic friendship a category in the eyes of the law, Source: Depositphotos

Germany plans to introduce an alternative to family-type partnerships

Germany plans to introduce an alternative to family-type partnerships

The new social model, called Verantwortungsgemeinschaften, could include more than two people

You might already know that Germany is a country of innovations and long words. In that light, you might want to learn this new, socially innovative and rather long German word – Verantwortungsgemeinschaften. It roughly translates to “responsibility companionship” and describes a new type of partnership model between people that the German government aims to introduce into the legal framework by 2025.

If and when it becomes a reality, responsibility companionship would allow people to share responsibilities, such as care, finances and housing in the eyes of the law, much the same way couples do. However, this arrangement won’t have to rely on the basis that there is a romantic relationship between the partners. In essence, this could create a legal category for committed friendship.

What’s more, Verantwortungsgemeinschaften would also allow more than two people to enter into such a partnership. However, there will be a limit of up to six people for the legal friendship unit. The authorities are seeking to introduce this category as a way of encouraging lonely and elderly people to share responsibility and care for each other in times of need and emergency.

Legalized non-romantic companionship

And if you thought the multiple-people union possibility was turning the notch on complexity, that’s not all. The system will have four different levels that partners could opt for.

At the lowest level, only some basic responsibilities will be shared whereas at the highest, partners can opt to share housing, finances and care for each other.

Still, the government is quick to assuage concerns by saying that this is not meant to be a lighter form of marriage since partners in these unions will not be able to benefit from tax breaks or inheritance.

Critics, however, are not too convinced about the nature of Verantwortungsgemeinschaften. Centre-right politicians have voiced opposition that these companionships would essentially make polygamy possible in Germany, and that would contravene the existing law in the country which bans marriage to multiple partners.



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