Divorce and financial complication

7 posts in this topic

Hello everyone, 

 

I am a vietnamese and I have been studying in France since long time with an annual french residency card. In 2017, I went to Berlin to do an internship before graduating and I met my husband.  He is German and we got married in Denmark, then made it recognised by Standesamt in Germany.

 

For short, after some months, things go rough, and I start to comtemplate the divorce. I dont want to go deep about details of our relationship, how it went wrong. I am just looking for advice about financial problem between us.

 

Before getting married, he had around 20.000 in savings (in bank accounts and cash). . He suffers a severe depression and under depressive treatment. His thinking is not very stable. Now each time we argue, he blames me for spending all of his savings. My worry is that, if in case the divorce happens, is there any possibility that he can sue me and force me to pay back that 20.000euros. 


Here are more details about our financial situation: 

  • October 2017, we were not married. I came back to France for one month to sort out everything so that I could move to Berlin with him, he transfered me 1000e  as financial support and paid for 1000e for a 3 month german course starting from November 2017. 
  • I moved in with him in November 2017 and We married in end of December 2017
  • From December till March 2018, we stayed in the flat where he used to live before, the rent was 500e/ month 
  • From March 2018 to End of May 2018: we lived in a new flat which is much more expensive 850euro/month.  During this time, he paid for another 3 month german course, around 1200E. I quited the german course since January so he got the voucher for 7 weeks left. 

From November 2017 until  end May of 2018, I was unemployed and his monthly salary was 1200 euro per month. He is always the only one whose name is on the rental contract and pays the rent. Daily expenses and expenses for the marriage were from his monthly salary and his savings. 

  • From juin 2018, i left to France to work and start to earn my own salary (2600e net). in June, his monthly income was still 1200 euro.
  • In July, it was his transition period, his trainee salary stoped and he is in short of incomes. I intend to send him part of my salary to support him. 
  • Starting from next August, his salary will be 3000e net per month. He stays in the same flat. 

 

We have no children, no common bank account. During the time I was in Germany, he gave me one of his cards with 200E per month, but for so many times i could not pay it because they usually asked for his ID. I also used my own savings to pay for daily expenses and my personal need like clothes, medicines etc. My savings is much less, around 1500-2000e or so. 

He already declared to his employeur that he got married and he is entitled for a better tax category and 200 euro more for his monthly salary. He told me that he is entitled to get 200e more starting from December 2017 but somehow he hasnt got it yet. Honestly, I dont know exactly how much he got, if/when he got it or not, or how 20.000e was blown up. It is totally his accounts and I dont have any real following up on his accounts. I dont intend to claim the money he get from the married status either. I understand he paid alot for us, now I am financial independant, I dont need that money. There would be nothing to ask for if he is in normal mental state. In normal mental state, he never mentions about the money he spent during this marriage. When he has a panic attack, he blames me for every penny he spent on us. So I cannot predict how he will react when it comes to divorce. 

 

My questions are:

 

1- Is he entitled to sue me for that 20.000euros? I really doubted if 20.000euro could evaporate that quickly.  I understand that, normally, he had the savings before the marriage and during the marriage, it remains his property. But I see that he was the one who paid it with his own card, and it was for common life.  If he does, what kind of proof may be required by the court? If I have to pay him  back that savings, the money I transfer to support him during the marriage, will it be deducted in some way? 

 

2- People advise me to make him sign a contract of Financial Separation, to avoid the possibility that he can claim that 20.000euro on me. Does anyone do it and will it work?

 

3- the fact that we got married in DK and made it recognised in Germany, how can we know we are under which matrimonal regime? Or it does not matter, as long as we file the divorce in germany then we are under German regime?

 

4- Despite the fact that we already live separately since June 2018,  i am still registered in Germany until now. I wonder if the separation time can be counted starting from June, when we actually live apart or only from when I do the Abmeldung? I can provide full time work contract and rental contract in France from June. 

 

5- Can he also claim my responsibilty for the rent of  his current flat during the separationt time too? Like he had to suffer the heavy rent because he expected med to come back? 

 

I dont want to blame or to run away from any responsibility if I have to in this divorce. I also dont want to discuss about how things end up like this, who is right who is wrong, why I was dependant on him etc. There is a lot of details inside but it is not the purpose of my post here. I just want to clarify my/his right and try to make the divorce easier for both if possible. Considering that we got married in Denmark and made it recognised in Germany, i dont know which matrimonial regime will apply for us. 

 

I will consult a family lawyer based in Germany too, but until I can find a good one, I would love to know your advice first. 
Thank so much in advance, 

 

 

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I'm not a lawyer but I'll give it a shot.

 

1. Surely he can try to sue you for the 20,000€ but most marriages in Germany follow a so called zugewinngemeinschaft which means they will look into how much you gained during the marriage and you split your gains.  You can however not split losses.  So whatever you brought into the marriage vs. what you have now is your gain.  His gain if he brought in 20,000 and ended up with nothing is zero and can not be split. Hence, you may have to split your gain with him but you do not owe him 20,000€.

 

2. I don't know if an agreement like that is needed in your case.  Ask a lawyer.  Would your husband be willing to sign something like that anyway?

 

3. I don't think it matters where you got married if you divorce in Germany.

 

4. You can count your move-out date as the start of your separation as long as your husband agrees anyway.  However, if he claims that you were not yet separated and that you just left for work, that you visited each other, cooked, ate and slept together etc. that would delay the separation date.

 

5. The apartment was in his name which makes your position stronger.  Besides, you weren't working so it was not like he could count on you to pay part of the rent when he rented the apartment.  Worst case for you, you might have to pay half the rent for the first 3 months after you left because he could have given 3 months notice on the apartment after you left.

 

He could have requested spousal support from you after you left him and started earning money but if he didn't do it right away, he can't go back in time.  However, you could request spousal support from him as of August when he starts making more money than you.  

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21 hours ago, LeonG said:

I'm not a lawyer but I'll give it a shot.

 

1. Surely he can try to sue you for the 20,000€ but most marriages in Germany follow a so called zugewinngemeinschaft which means they will look into how much you gained during the marriage and you split your gains.  You can however not split losses.  So whatever you brought into the marriage vs. what you have now is your gain.  His gain if he brought in 20,000 and ended up with nothing is zero and can not be split. Hence, you may have to split your gain with him but you do not owe him 20,000€.

 

2. I don't know if an agreement like that is needed in your case.  Ask a lawyer.  Would your husband be willing to sign something like that anyway?

 

3. I don't think it matters where you got married if you divorce in Germany.

 

4. You can count your move-out date as the start of your separation as long as your husband agrees anyway.  However, if he claims that you were not yet separated and that you just left for work, that you visited each other, cooked, ate and slept together etc. that would delay the separation date.

 

5. The apartment was in his name which makes your position stronger.  Besides, you weren't working so it was not like he could count on you to pay part of the rent when he rented the apartment.  Worst case for you, you might have to pay half the rent for the first 3 months after you left because he could have given 3 months notice on the apartment after you left.

 

He could have requested spousal support from you after you left him and started earning money but if he didn't do it right away, he can't go back in time.  However, you could request spousal support from him as of August when he starts making more money than you.  

Thank you for spending time to explain all of these points. 
I just would like to know if there is any source of information about sharing the gains and sharing the lost during the marriage as you said. I do research on internet but I dont find any information about this topic. 

 

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1 hour ago, Linh Nguyen said:

well, it may sound complicated, but the main question here is that, does one partner have the right to sue the other for his own assets, which was spent during the marriage for common purpose. 

I am not a lawyer/ para legal. But the answer could well be a yes. Or a no. 

You really must seek a family/ divorce lawyer.

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1 hour ago, Linh Nguyen said:

Thank you for spending time to explain all of these points. 
I just would like to know if there is any source of information about sharing the gains and sharing the lost during the marriage as you said. I do research on internet but I dont find any information about this topic. 

 

There is something in English about divorce in Germany here: https://www.expatica.com/de/family-essentials/Getting-a-divorce-in-Germany_107818.html but most is probably in German. If you google "zugewinnausgleich" you should find a few things.  The basic rule is that assets that you owned before the marriage such as a house or a car stay in your possession.  Only what you gained during the marriage is split.  However, losses aren't split so if you gained nothing during the marriage and your husband lost 20,000€, you both gained zero and there is nothing to be split.

 

For example, you can find something here: https://www.asp-rechtsanwaelte.de/anwalt-fuer-familienrecht-scheidungsanwalt/zugewinnausgleich/ where it says "Allerdings gibt es nach wie vor keinen negativen Zugewinn. Hat also ein Ehepartner bei Eheschließung ein Anfangsvermögen von 10.000 € und während der Ehe hohe Schulden gemacht, sodass sein Endvermögen mit – 20.000 € anzusetzen ist, so beläuft sich sein Zugewinn immer noch auf 0,- €."  I would say you should get a lawyer.

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