Residing in Germany yet divorcing elsewhere?

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Hello everyone,

I searched the threads and came up short, but I apologize if this has been discussed elsewhere. 
I am American and want to get divorced from my German husband. We both live here and have one child together. To minimize the cost (it should be 1/2 the price from what I can gather online), I was considering getting divorced in the US. We were married there and had it recognized here at the Standesamt, and as far as I can tell, we should be able to get divorced in the same manner even though we are both currently living here, right? We’ve already had our retirement Ausgleich settled by a notary and we’re working on officially figuring out the child support with the Jugendamt. We don’t have any property and we more or less agree on everything, so it should be pretty simple. Does anyone have any experience doing it this way? Was it too much of a pain in the butt to be worth it?

For the record, I did consult a German divorce lawyer at the beginning of this and she advised me that it was easier to do here because we live here and everything would have to be settled in Germany anyways. But I’m a little skeptical, because we have managed to settle most things on our own outside of court. I’m thinking she may have wanted to retain my business...

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance!

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Where you got married is not relevant to where you get divorced.  A divorce is processed by a court and therefore it needs to be decided which court has jurisdiction and what laws should be applied.  To make it complex, the laws which are to be applied can be different from that of land/state of the court which has jurisdiction!

 

Only a lawyer can really answer all the questions in detail, but as I understand it then as you both live in Germany then the German courts have jurisdiction.  But as one of you is American then American law could be applied.  

 

If you want to get divorced in the USA then this could be done if you go back there are live for a while and then file while you are there (I don't know how long you would need to live there before you could do this).  This of course would however also impact your German residential status which might not be beneficial to you if  you wish to stay here. (Or you could go and live in another country and file for divorce there.  Switzerland for example I believe allows this after you have lived there for 1 year(?))

 

 

BTW:  Even if you were to get divorce in another country the German authorities would have to recognise it.   This is not a problem if done within the EU, but if done outside then that could take months and would also cost money. 

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9 hours ago, mckik said:

I am American and want to get divorced from my German husband. We both live here and have one child together. To minimize the cost (it should be 1/2 the price from what I can gather online), I was considering getting divorced in the US. We were married there and had it recognized here at the Standesamt, and as far as I can tell, we should be able to get divorced in the same manner even though we are both currently living here, right?

 

No, if you are both currentlly living in Germany and you are not planning on moving back to the US now, you should get divorced in Germany. If you want to get divorced in the US, you need to actually move back there and the additional costs of a short-term move (or even faking a short-term move) will far outweigh any savings on legal fees.

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You can only get divorced in the US if you live there and meet the residency requirements of the state that you want to file in. It probably won’t work and you’ll have to file here. It doesn’t matter where you were married. 

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It's possible to get divorced under US law in Germany - if you are both US citizens, and both agree to do this (and the court agrees as well).

 

If your husband is not also a US citizen, you're pretty much stuck with getting divorced under German law, unless you move back to the US, and file in the US.  Note that if this is what you decide to do, your child cannot go with you unless your husband agrees to let the child go.

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Aside from the fact that it seems you might not meet the US residency requirements, I think it's more hassle that it is worth, and that since your life is focused in Germany and you have a child, you should finalize the divorce in Germany. I got divorced in the US from my non-US citizen wife. Since I wanted to remarry a German, in Germany, in order to get the proper documents, I needed to get all of the US (NYS) divorce paperwork translated to German, with an Apostille. Then the Bürgeramt had to take my paperwork through another process to get the paperwork formally recognized in Germany (this was done through one of the courts in Berlin), and that took a few months. Between translations, Apostilles, delivery costs, and the formal court recognition, the costs will probably end up being higher. Just get divorced in Germany.

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One other thing I learned the hard way...get your own attorney.  No matter how amicable you think things are between you and your soon-to-be-ex, you will give up more than you should if you don’t have your own representation.

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Thanks everyone for the advice. Yes, it's bound to be a pain no matter what. I'm considering moving back to the States at some point, so maybe I'll wait to divorce then. At the moment it's not urgent, but it would be good to be able to psychologically move on!

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My 2 cents (American, married in the US to a German, got divorced in Germany in 2017):

 

As you already have the retirement Ausgleich and as it seems child support will be agreed on soon, just go ahead and file here.

 

It‘s not really much hassle, it just takes its time: 9 months in Darmstadt in 2017 (mind you that included the retirement stuff).

 

I can look through my paperwork for the fees if you‘d like.

 

 

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