German Divorce and Family Law

Divorce And Family Lawyers: Germany

Brookman Solicitors in London is a specialist family law firm. We regularly deal with divorces with a German element, including divorces between:

  • Germans resident in England and Wales
  • English couples living in Germany
  • Couples who were married in Germany
  • Couples who have other family connections with Germany

Because of the differences in the way the courts in Germany and the courts in England and Wales deal with financial settlements and child arrangements it’s crucial to obtain advice on your Anglo-German divorce at an early stage.

Where To Divorce? Legal Advice On German Divorce

English and German expats can potentially obtain a divorce in either England or Germany. And the precise nature of the final settlement is often shaped by the approach of the judges in the country that hears the divorce. Prenups for example are sometimes easier to enforce in Germany than in England and Wales. And English courts have a reputation for protecting the financially weaker spouse to a greater degree than German courts.

Where more than one country can grant the divorce it’s essential to obtain advice on the best place for you to divorce. And you will often have to act quickly. That’s because the country that’s notified of the divorce first will usually decide all matters, including child arrangements and division of property.

German Divorce: The Legal Procedure

At Brookman we regularly handle Anglo-German divorce. Our familiarity with procedure means we can process your divorce efficiently and in accordance with your preferred timescales.

Since 1977 there has been a no-fault system of divorce in Germany – similar to the one that could soon be introduced in England and Wales. This means a German court will grant a divorce once satisfied that the marriage has finally broken down.

If the spouses have been separated for one year and both request a divorce or the respondent consents to a divorce, there is a presumption that the marriage has broken down.

If the couple has been apart for three years the court will also presume the marriage has ended and will grant a divorce – even if one spouse does not agree. Section 1565 of the German Civil Code allows for a divorce before one year’s separation if the continued marriage would mean unreasonable hardship for the petitioner.

How Will German Divorce Courts Approach Finances?

Courts in Germany will decide issues relating to maintenance, child arrangements and any overall financial settlement. German law considers each spouse the sole owner of assets he or she owned before the marriage as well as any acquired by him or her during the marriage.

If requested by one or both parties, the court will carry out a rebalancing or equalization exercise of those assets acquired during the marriage, including pension rights.

Child Arrangements And Anglo German Divorce

German courts tend to take the view that a child benefits from contact with both parents. If parents have joint care at the time of a divorce this is likely to continue after the divorce. If one parent wishes to move abroad (for example back to the UK) the courts will decide any application by considering the welfare of the child.

Along with 80 other countries worldwide Germany is a signatory to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. If one spouse removes a child from Germany without appropriate permission there is a well-established international procedure to secure the return of the child or other appropriate arrangement. At Brookman we act regularly on complex Hague Convention cases.

We are specialist family lawyers and divorce solicitors, based in London, and we advise clients who have a connection with Germany. Our clients can include those who are UK–based but originate from Germany, are living in Germany but have a connection with England or Wales, were married in Germany, or have other family connections with Germany.

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What our clients are saying:

‘EG’, London

“I hold Mr Brookman and his team in the highest regard. My case was one of complicated international law… Mr Brookman was compassionate to my needs and with his extensive legal knowledge and professional advice, the outcome was a success.”

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Simon Rogerson 12/08/2019

I wanted to say a big thanks to Henry Bookman and his colleagues for all their help and guidance during my divorce - a long a complicated one. The team were all brilliant. I loved the fact that Henry was happy to explore possibilities and search for solutions. I also feel that on occasions he gave hope when things were against me. All told a great coach who was ready with pearls of wisdom when I needed it.

An'a. K 10/08/2019

I would strongly recommend this firm. I had the opportunity to discuss my case thoroughly with Mr Bookman. But before the initial consultation, I had a telephone conversation with a legal assistant who took most of the details down, so that my initial consultation was to the point I appreciate the advice given by Mr Bookman and think it a humble approach that the initial consultation is FREE and carried by the most senior member of the firm and not by a junior staff like it happens in other firms.

Anonymous 08/08/2019

Aziz Malik. Unbelievably good. Fantastic advice and was able to manage my difficult family law case to a superb outcome. Highly recommended.

Sara Estevez 01/08/2019

I did a consultation with Henry and I highly recommend him. He took the time to understand my situation, checked that he had all the information he needed and once he realized he was not the best person for my case, he recommended another lawyer in another country who could help. Unlike other lawyers I've worked with previously, he was extremely honest, transparent and generous with his time.

Riviera Boulevard 15/06/2019

The professionalism and speed at which Mr Henry responded to the initial enquiry was remarkable and the advice provided was detailed and clear.