German/British Divorce Lawyers in Germany

Comprehensive legal support in times of crisis

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German/British
Divorce Lawyers
in Germany

Comprehensive legal support in times of crisis

German/British Divorce Lawyers in Germany

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our divorce lawyers provide specialist guidance in matters of German/British divorce. Our team advises British couples living in Germany, couples who were married in Germany and those with other family connections with Germany. With extensive experience in German divorce law, our lawyers are available to advise, guide and support you through the entire process.

Our Divorce Services

Complications with German/British Divorce Cases

Cross-border divorce cases are complex matters and therefore, reliable assistance from experts in family law is a requirement. For those involved in British/German divorce cases, the services of Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte are beneficial. We offer all our services in German and English. If you are a non-native German speaker (or have limited German), our team will ensure that you are fully aware of the process in Germany and are provided with clear guidance in English. Brexit has complicated many of the issues involved in such divorce cases (including with residence permits and issues of citizenship), but our team will provide a breakdown of how German family law provisions will apply in your case.

Children with both German and British parents can add further complications, with the potential for international child abduction, delays in child support and spousal maintenance and more. By working alongside our team, you mitigate the risks involved. We have worked with clients worldwide and can provide you with solid strategies and advice regarding proceeding with such cases.

Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte is a full-service law firm with offices and conference rooms across Germany. Our lawyers will analyse your case from all legal angles as a multidisciplinary firm. Often tax law, immigration law and other areas of law can have a significant impact on divorce cases. At Schlun & Elseven, you will receive advice on these issues from one source.

Child Access and Custody Legal Issues

When divorcing in Germany, the German courts tend to adopt the approach that the child benefits from contact from both parents. In matters of child custody “the best interests of the child” is seen as the general rule to follow. During the divorce process, parents can voluntarily relinquish their rights to joint custody. Furthermore, a parent can seek for the withdrawal of joint custody if they deem the other parent’s custody as “harmful” to the child. Determining whether the remaining contact may be harmful will vary based on the case facts, and those seeking such a solution should consult with their lawyer.

Another danger posed in the breakdown of a marriage, is the possibility of international child abduction. The child may be moved to Germany, or the UK, without the permission of the other parent. Such an action can cause significant distress for the parent and the child (or children) involved. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our family law specialists will outline the legal options available to you in such cases, and provide the legal representation needed in such cases.

Division of Assets during a Divorce: Personal & Business

The division of assets following a divorce can be contentious. The marital contract (prenuptial agreement) can provide an outline for how property and other assets will be distributed. The spouses can also consult with their respective lawyers regarding dividing the assets. How assets will be divided can also often be based around the asset’s nature and whether they were acquired before or after the marriage. Generally, under German divorce law, the assets accumulated during the marriage by both partners are those that will be divided.

Such steps can also apply for the debts accrued. Should one spouse be the sole owner of a property or asset, they are liable for any debt. Similarly, where one of the spouses is contractually obliged to finance a deficit in most cases, they will be the ones to repay it.

Property division is determined by who who is the official property owner. Where a spouse has not contributed to the property’s financing, it is not likely to be considered divisible during the divorce. However, the division of the family home is a more complicated process whereby creative solutions may need to be found, such as buying out the other spouse, transferring ownership to children or selling the property.

Entrepreneurs with business assets also need to be aware of the difficulties in the event of German/British divorce cases. If there is no prenuptial agreement in place with clear guidelines concerning these assets, it can cause significant challenges for businesses.

Divorce Proceedings in Germany: Full-Service Legal Support

At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our team of divorce lawyers are ready to advise you in your divorce case. Divorce in Germany arises when a marriage has been deemed to have failed, as stated under § 1565 para.1 BGB. Clients can show that the marriage is failing by demonstrating that there is no marital partnership anymore, and it cannot be expected that this partnership can be restored (§ 1565 para.2 BGB). In practice, such failure applies when the couple does not live together anymore (§ 1567 para.1 BGB).

International divorce cases can be complicated further due to the decisions regarding under which legal system the divorce should take place. It is advisable to consult with expert divorce lawyers before deciding to pursue divorce. Our lawyers will advise you regarding the advantages and risks of pursuing a divorce under German law. If the German legal system is the chosen path, our team advises on matters relating to the usual time lengths, costs, court proceedings and much more.

Should your German residence permit be linked to your marriage status, our team will advise you regarding your options to remain in Germany. The residence permit status following the divorce will be linked to how long the marriage lasted, with the courts being less favourable towards marriages that last fewer than three years. If the marriage lasted longer than three years, the divorced non-German/EU citizen spouse would usually be granted an extra year of residency following the divorce. It is strongly advised for them to find skilled work in Germany for residence purposes during that time. Our lawyers will provide you with a comprehensive overview of your options as a full-service law firm.

Prenuptial Agreements: Drafting and Negotiation

The marriage contract (prenuptial agreement) is a cornerstone of marriage in Germany. Our lawyers advise clients regarding the marriage contract and carefully draft such arrangements. However, during a divorce, those involved should be aware that the clauses within the marriage contract are not always enforceable. Clauses relating to allowing the non-payment of child support or spousal maintenance can be deemed invalid. Where the court views a prenup to be unfair or one-sided, they can intervene in the matter.

Prenups can also be changed and altered as time moves. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our family and divorce lawyers are available to advise clients regarding their prenuptial agreements, including their British marriage contracts and their enforceability in Germany.

Spousal Maintenance, Alimony & Child Support

The family lawyers at Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte are ready to advise you regarding child support, alimony and spousal maintenance law. Spousal maintenance applies generally during the period of separation. Under German law, couples require a year of separation before pursuing a divorce. An exception exists, in cases under § 1565 (2) BGB where continuing the marriage would create an “unreasonable hardship” for the spouse involved. Once the divorce is finalised, spousal maintenance is applied on a case-by-case basis. Child support payments take precedence over spousal maintenance in this case.

Child support payments need to be paid by the person identified as the father of the baby. The father is identified under German law as:

  • the man married to the mother at the time of birth,
  • the man who has recognised and signed the paternity acknowledgement,
  • where a court has recognised the man as the father of the child.

German courts tend to use the Düsseldorfer Tabelle as a rough estimate of what a parent should be paying. The Düsseldorfer Tabelle functions as a calculator that establishes the amount owed based on the parent’s earnings per month, the primary caregiver’s earnings, the additional requirements necessary for the child’s maintenance, etc. The Düsseldorfer Tabelle will be used alongside other guidelines provided in the family courts. Generally, it is decided on a case-by-case basis.

If you are involved in a cross-border divorce case, enforcing child support payments and spousal maintenance can be a difficult process. The Hague Protocol for Child Support is a means by which courts abroad generally recognise decisions made by fellow members of the protocol (including Germany). The UK is also a member of this agreement meaning that courts there will be more likely to follow court decisions on child support matters based in Germany. Consult with our lawyers regarding questions around child support law and alimony payments.

German Family Law News

German Family Law News