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 was introduced in England and Wales in 2022. 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 equalisation 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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