Divorce Lawyers in Germany

Divorce Lawyers in Germany

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Divorce is a matter which is often overwhelming. The decision to separate from the partner, who has previously been the closest person in one’s life, is not easily taken. Therefore, it is inevitable to properly prepare the relevant steps in advance. Our experienced and skilled German divorce lawyers will gladly support you in this regard.

Our divorce lawyers consist of experts in the field of German family law and they are ready to provide you with comprehensive advice. Should you have any question, or any other inquiries, feel free to contact us at any time.

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Our lawyers will be by your side throughout the divorce process.

S&E provides clients with comprehensive legal assistance in all family law issues.

Divorce Preparation

Before an application for divorce is filed, the parties should make the necessary arrangements. This is mainly the case when the relationship has been tense for a while. Especially when you fear that your spouse may remove assets, you should take action.

It is advisable to obtain an overview of your family’s and spouse’s assets in this context. We recommend securing relevant receipts, records and documents.

After the separation, you will have a right to information when asserting a claim for maintenance. Yet, experience shows that the willingness to provide insight into one’s financial situation is often lacking, leading to a divorce lawyer being required to enforce the right to information.

Documentation is Key

For this reason, you should compile copies of your payroll for the last 12 months, the three most recent tax assessments, relevant accounts, life insurance, building loan contracts, loan liabilities, notarial contracts, and other relevant documents. Furthermore, we recommend securing the rental agreement and proof of the security deposit if you rent a property.

Lastly, if you have granted your spouse power of attorney for your bank account, you should revoke this as soon as possible by contacting the respective bank.

Following the steps mentioned above, you should unambiguously communicate to your spouse that you consider the marriage to have failed. It is advisable to also document this in written form, for instance, through a lawyer. Only in this way can it be prevented that your spouse will deny that one year of separation has elapsed when you file for divorce, which constitutes a precondition of a successful application.

Enforcement of a Divorce under German Law

The termination of a marriage is finalised through a divorce decree. The German Civil Code (BGB) governs divorce in the provisions §§ 1564 BGB. A marriage is considered “failed” when marital cohabitation is nonexistent.

For this to be the case, the former spouses must dissolve the conjugal partnership in any regard. Commonly, one of the spouses moves out. However, if this is not possible, a spatial separation must be installed in the shared home because of the couple’s children.

It is decisive that one household turns into two (see BGH, judgement f. 14.6.1978 – IV ZR 164/77 (Düsseldorf)). For example, this implies that no household supply tasks may be conducted for the other spouse, such as grocery shopping, laundry or cooking. Furthermore, arrangements must be made because of regulating the use of shared rooms, such as the kitchen or the bathroom. Preferably, this should be documented in writing. Our German divorce lawyers can assist you with this.

Exact Conditions for Divorce: a Failed Marriage

It is crucial that, generally, German law only provides for the possibility of divorce if the marriage has failed (§1565 para.1 BGB). This failure is evident if there is no marital partnership anymore, and it cannot be expected that this partnership can be restored (§1565 para.2 BGB).

First and foremost, this applies if the couple does not live together anymore (§1567 para.1 BGB). This way, a failed marriage can be proven, especially if one spouse wishes to divorce while the other wishes to hold on to the marriage.

Please note that in case of a dispute, a marriage is only incontrovertibly considered failed if the (former) spouses have lived separately for three years (§1566 para.1 BGB).

However, this consideration can be disproved in particular cases. Even if the other spouse is contesting, it can be possible to divorce earlier than three years. This requires a detailed presentation in front of the court by an experienced lawyer in German divorce law.

Yet, moving out must be well thought through, as this act can trigger several consequences. Mainly where children are involved, moving out without them can later impact the right to determine the children’s residence or even the right of custody. Therefore, this step should be carefully considered.

Besides, the question of which the spouse may continue to use the formerly shared home arises. If one spouse leaves and does not show a serious intention to return, it will be irrevocably assumed that they surrender their right of use to the other spouse. Thus, legal advice from German divorce lawyers should be sought before leaving the shared home.

Consequences of a Divorce: Legal Advice

After a divorce, it is generally possible to claim spousal maintenance and child allowance from the former spouse. In practice, the determination of the precise costs often leads to problems, which have to be solved by German divorce lawyers. Our experts on German divorce law will gladly assist you by explaining the pension rights adjustment, which is carried out by the German Family Court.

If children are involved, questions concerning custody and the right to determine the place of residence for them, become relevant. Particularly issues that are decisive for the children’s future should be considered diligently.

The children’s best interests should always be decisive, which is why parents should attempt to agree on a solution mutually. Legal advice from experienced German divorce lawyers pave the way for the parents to achieve outcomes in their children’s best interests.

As a result of the divorce, the former spouses’ assets will be divided again. The division of these assets depends on whether the former spouses lived in a community of accrued gains (Zugewinngemeinschaft, §1363 BGB, which is generally the case if the spouses did not decide otherwise), in a regime of separated property (Gütertrennung §1414 BGB) or in a community of property (Gütergemeinschaft §1415 BGB, if decided on in a marriage contract).

The division of assets in a specific case depends on the respective regime since these are regulated in different ways. To ensure that you receive what you are owed, it is advisable to consult with our German divorce lawyers.

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Practice Group: German Family Law

Practice Group:
German Family Law

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Dr. Tim Schlun

Lawyer | Managing Partner