Getting divorced under German law

Various info, advice, and experiences

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Editor Bob
I received the following email a few moments ago.

The sender wanted to share their experiences but didn't want to register a forum account for the sake of one post.

German Courts too often give all the right to the mother, especially if she is the German citizen. Try a search about "the second hand man" by Karin Jaeckel, and find out about the numerous amount of abused fathers.

It doesn't matter where the marriage has been entered into. The only thing German Court takes into consideration is the German citizenship of one of the spouses and the last common domicile. If it was in Germany and you are a non-German divorcing, I'm really sorry for you.

A German divorce is not quick and easy. You need at least one year of separation if both parts agree, but minimum three years of separation if there are fights (custody, child support, alimony, sharing of marital property, etc.). In some case, if both really want to be divorced quickly, they can both file for divorce telling they have officially been separated at a date situated at least one year in the past. Price wise, it depends on the value both spouses are fighting for, whether the value is real or not.

For more info about the law, please refer to this document: Grounds for divorce and maintenance, Germany (PDF)

It is a description about the law (in English) based on questions and answers ... unfortunately, it doesn't tell you that the law is only a guideline and the Judge decides what (s)he wants, no matter if it is totally different from a similar case treated in another jurisdiction within Germany.
Geez, no wonder no one gets married here - they just shack up and have kids!
I have seen a few nasty divorces where all rights were not given to the mother - especially when the mother is not German. Just wanted to point what I feel is an inacurate generalization in the first line.

They are my children, too
is an excellent account of how mothers can be discriminated against with the full support of the German government.
I represent my friend who is German man and he wants to divorce his wife and as his best friend I am willing to help him by find some information about this. He is in confusing situation right now.

I describe here in general his situation marriage problem.
He and her have been married for 10 years. They don't have any kids until now, but she has a daughter from her previous husband and the daugther lives with them, she is 14 years old now. His wife is Brazilian and they married in Denmark. He has his own business at home and he running his business himself. His wife works as a freelancer for any product's promotion.

The marriage problem came up after the year of 6th of marriage that he noticed it. His wife controling him all the time and always try to made any confrontation with him with excuse him that he has an affair with other girl, that definetely he doesn't. He starts suspicious that his wife has other affair after he saw himself 2 times last 2 years ago that his wife was went out from the house of his neighbour's ( a man). He already told her to stop contact with this guy, and she promised him will do it. He tried hard to keep the marriage still in harmony, but in 2004 their marriage become more worst. Their marriage always full of fighting. They didn't have a sex as husband and wife since October 2004. Even though in that situation he still willing to keep the harmony of his marriage. This problem situation effected to his business, who is running down right now.

In February 2005, he is knowing a girl by internet and they become close to each other ( well I can understand why he did it after all happenend with his unhappy marriage). He told his mother that he met other girl and he feel happy and comfort with this girl.
In Mei 2005, he found all the email of his wife to this neighbour's guy. From all those email he found that his wife actually really has affair with this man for 3 years already, beside that he also found other emails from 2 other men to his wife and they already met each other, that he assumed. He didn't noticed all those things from his wife because his trusted her, even she said she wanted to visit her friends in other city of German. He printed out all those emails and showed them to her. She totaly denied all those emails, she said that she wrote herself those emails to make him jelous because she knows oneday that he will find those emails ( is it make a sense reason, don't you think?). Beside that also he found in the telephone bills that she has a lot of calling to the same number for already 5 months, and he check out the number and it belongs to this neighbour man. She didn't realize that his wife has affair already 3 years and flirted some men.
Even in other side he feel guilty of himself and to his wife because he knew other girl, but he feel that he is just a normal man that he can not deny to attract to other girl because he feel unhappy with his relationship, especially with his wife behaviour and attitude. The fighting more became bigger and sharper and after all he feel tired in trap in this bad situation because it is really effect to his business also. She even had called his business partners and told them how bad person is her husband. So, he decided to divorce from her. He told her about this in June 2005, of course she could not accept this in the first, afterthat she accepted and busy try to find a new appartement for herself. But, she always changed her mind, today says OK, next day says NO. it can say like she has 2 personality ( I don't want to assume myself about her, but for all I heard and see, it seems like that).

Recently in the end of the week of July, his wife found some pictures of his new girl friend and their pictures together, she went into his computer. She asked him and he answered in honest that he is knowing other girl because of the problem in marriage and he feels unhappy.
She sent some those pictures to her sister who also lives in German. Now, she became more violence againts him. She called all the friends and family of him to tell them that her husband has affair. She said also that she will display all those pictures on the street in the city.
She treated him many time that she will hire someone to kill him or even she will do it herself. She also treated him that she will do anything to destroy his businness. Before she said she wants move out from the house and now she doesn't want to move out from the house.

I had read some of rules in German for divorce, but I would like to get more further information and advise from this kind of marriage problem.

The question are:
1. What he must to do to take a good way for his divorce?

2. As I read: "Normally you can start the divorce procedure in Germany, when the spouses are seperated more then one year. The separation can take place in the formal common home for some month, which counts as separation - time, but afterwards it is better to live in two different homes."
They are not separate until now, even her wife sometimes stays by her sister for couple of days. So, how and when their divorce can be start? should they separate for 1 year first than ask for divorce or he can already ask the divorce through the lawyer?

3. For the allimony, how long he must to pay for her and should he also support the daughter of his wife, even she is not her own daughter?

4.As I read also; "In Germany you divide only the properties, witch are owned while the spouses live together. The law compares the situation of each husband at the moment of marriage and the moment of seperation (divorce - petition)."
They live in the rent house since they married. How about this? Can he stays in the house and his wife who move out from the house? it doesn't matter for him to pay the rent of her new apartment. Who decide the spouses to live or to get out from the house? and when one of the spouse should be moving out after the divorce request?

"The husband, which got more properties in this time has to pay the half of this value". : what it means by this rule?
How about the credits and also his company, should he also divide it?

5. How he must to do to protect his business from his wife violence as she treated him that she wants to destroy his business. is it possible she can do that?

6. How he must to do to protect himself for any bad thing happen that his wife will do to him? He believes that she will do that because he knew well her personality and character, one time she almost do that.

7. Should both of them also attend in the court for the divorce and how long it takes the processing of the divorce until the divorce approved?

I really appreciate and look forward to receive any information and advise from you regarding this matter. Thank you so much for your kind attention and help.

Sincerely regards,
The German courts no longer give all rights to the mother. That used to be the case, generally, but not anymore. The default now is split custody and you would have to prove very good grounds (such as abuse or abandonment or a marked inability to cooperate in raising the child) to get them to decide otherwise.

I got full custody of my kids in my divorce, but 1) it was 10 yrs ago and things have changed quite a bit since then and 2) my ex lied and made outrageous accusations during the proceedings and generally convinced the judge that he wasn't cooperative enough to share custody. I am American and my ex is German. The judge showed absolutely no bias against myself as an Auslander.

German divorce does take a long time, but I don't think mine took 3 years. It was more like a years' seperation (mandatory) and then about 9 months for the court dates and burocracy. You can get a lot of the paperwork (such as Gutertrennung) done during the seperation time which will speed things up.

As for Chantika's friend's situation, I think she'd be best staying out of it.
As for Chantika's friend's situation, I think she'd be best staying out of it.
Uh why ? Sounds like he's going to be in for a tough ride but (According to him/her) has quite a bit of documentation to back it up.
chantika, your pal needs solid legal advice and quickly.
He should keep a diary and keep all documentation and take these to his lawyer.
If threats are made, he should lodge a formal complaint with the police.

My wife is non-European, I am Irish and I would like to get a divorce asap.

We have been living in Germany for serval years and been married for a year and a half.

Could anyone give me some advice about getting a divorce in Germany please? We are both non-Germans without children.

Is there such as thing as the citizen's advice Citizens Advice Bureaux here in Munich?

Any advice?

Please help

Topics merged by admin
One of the divorce threads.
Citizens Advice Bureau = Verbraucherschutz but they won't actually cover divorce here.
It could depend a lot on where you got married. My Ma and step-father are both US citizens but got married in Germany so they also had to get divorced in Germany, even though my Ma was in the US at the time. Is your wife in Germany? Divorce jurisdiction generally lies in the defendants local court. Take a look at your Consulate's website to see if they have any suggestions as to which lawyer to contact, and get a cost estimate off the lawyer as well. I think in your situation you will need legal advice.
Generally, you have to be separated for at least a year before you can file for divorce, and there may be pension issues.
If this is a more or less amicable divorce (you're not fighting over the terms of the break-up), go to Las Vegas. Otherwise, go wherever else you can because divorce in Germany is expensive, as are divorce lawyers.

BD, that's a question I've been mulling over. I was pretty sure that it would be possible to get divorced outside of Germany, if one partner is non-German. Is that really true? Because getting divorced in Germany is a joke - minimum fee of €3,000 for each partner, even if both parties are in complete agreement.

Anyone ever done this? How is it done?
Fucking hell !

Knusper, Is that figure from a website or an actual quote from a lawyer ?

Another thing is you have to factor in the costs of changing any property deeds you may hold jointly and them notary boys are not cheap either.
I believe that figure (€3,000 PER PERSON) is the standard fee for a lawyer processing a divorce case. In Germany, lawyer's fees are set by law, so there is no wiggle room here.
The lawyer bases his fees on an amount set by the court, which is based on your joint assets, I can't remember the term but I think it is called the Streitwert. If you own property then the figure is higher then if you've got nothing. My divorce should have cost DM10000 (Ca. €5000) but I manage to arrange a deal that meant it was a lot less. One of the few good things about getting divorced in Germany is that under German law, whatever you bring into a marriage you can leave with it. So if the house belonged to one of the parties before they were married then he or she can take that value with them. Of course if the house has increased in value during the time of the marriage then the differance is shared.
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