Member LV/DVG America - DVG - DHV - VDH - FCI

When is a Spouse Not a Spouse

By Carole Patterson

Every year at renewal time, we get some rather interesting membership designations on the club rosters. Thankfully, those rosters never go to the DVG office in Germany. If they did, it wouldn't be just the language difference that would confuse the office staff.

There are 3 classifications. of membership in DVG: the VM or Vollmitglied, which stands for Full Member; the EP or Eheparmer, which stands for spouse; and the JM or Jugenlicher, which stands for youth member. A youth member can be anyone who has not yet reached his or her 18th birthday.

The dues payment to Germany is structured in such a way that the dues are different depending on the membership classification of the individual member. The same is true of the LV dues. In the LV dues structure, VM dues are charged for the magazine, though the way the mailing database is set up, 'both the VM and the EP names appear on the label. A JM can either be an independent individual member and be charged for and receive a personal copy of the magazine or be part of a family membership, in which case there is no separate magazine copy issued and no charge included in the dues. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it. Well, maybe not. There are people belonging to LV America who belong to more than one club. In fact occasionally they belong to more than two clubs. A few of those extra VM memberships appeared on some club rosters this 'year as EP memberships, which I have to admit had us scratching our heads. What we finally figured out was that in an effort to prevent these members from being charged for a second magazine subscription, the clubs had listed them as EP members. This was unnecessary. All that needed to be done was to indicate on the roster, beside the member's name, that the member receives his/her magazine through the membership in such-and-such club. And if a club is filling out an Anmeldung form for a new applicant who already has a membership in another club, do the same thing. Simply put on the member­ship application that this person receives the magazine through the other club. This makes it simple for the membership officers in the regions and also for LV Treasurer, Henry Sowders, to know that the club isn't short- changing on the dues money. No VM needs to pay for more than one magazine. Okay, is that all? That's again pretty simple, huh? Well, not exactly. Here's someplace else that we see the EP designation show up on our rosters any combination of parents and adult children sharing a household. Mother and father and son and/or daughter; Mother/son, father/son; mother/daughter, father/daughter, even nephews and nieces. If they're over 18, folks, they HAVE to be VM members, even if they live in the same house. Again, all that needs to be done is a note on the roster or on the application that he or she is the adult son or daughter living in the same household as the parent or parents. Because he or she is 18 or older, simply list the kid as a VM with the proper explanation. The dues charged from Germany and the LV dues will be for an adult, full member, BUT there will be no charge for another copy of the magazine.

That should cover it. Right? Uh, not quite.

DVG/Germany loosened up its restrictions several years ago to regard non-married couples sharing a household as VM and EP members, rather than requiring them to be married. At the same time, they also removed the requirement that married couples share the same last name. Though the practice of not taking the husband's last name seemed to begin here in North America, European countries followed suit fairly quickly and the membership status requirements were changed accordingly in Germany.

However, we have run into situations in the last couple of years where adults of the same sex are sharing a household (otherwise known as roommates, folks) and really don't want two copies of the magazine. So, the rosters from some clubs showed up with one as a VM and the other as an EP. This actually occurred on an address change form (the new one that shows a change in membership status) that slipped by us and ended up over in Germany. That really did cause some head scratching there, eliciting a note back to me from Inge Moding, who handles a lot of the LV America stuff because she speaks and reads English. She said they couldn't change one of the member's status from VM to EP because both members were the same sex. We got it all straightened out with no problem, once I explained the reason why it was marked that way. Again, all that needs be done is to notify the regional Membership officer at renewal time that while both people are VM's sharing a household, they only want to have one magazine copy. Each pays the VM dues, minus the magazine charge for one of them, mark the roster accordingly and it's done. Cathy and Chris Daugaard in Florida are sisters, living in the same house, and this year, they finally shut off one copy of the magazine, after paying for two copies for years. Notify the regional membership officer, mark the roster or Anmeldung form appropriately to show that only one magazine is needed for two people at the same address, and we'll take care of it from there. But the membership officers must be notified of this or they're going to come back for more money, because if they don't, I promise you, Henry Sowders will be after the region for more money.

I hope this clarifies the EP membership status for everyone. It is only applicable to a male or female partner of a cohabiting couple, married or not. No adult kids, nieces, nephews, roommates of same sex, etc. I don't know what the etc. would be. I think I've covered about every kind of household sharing situation that exists. At least I think so. If there's another, I'm not sure I want to know about it.
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