German Divorce: Spouses Reside Outside Germany
It is possible, under certain conditions, to get divorced by German law in situations where one of the spouses is living abroad. If the spouse living abroad files the divorce in Germany, the case can be under German law if the spouses have a connection to Germany. This connection can be in the form of German citizenship or German residency. The couple should also have resided together in Germany before their separation/divorce. Even in cases where one of the partners is not a German citizen, the divorce can be under German law conditions if they had resided in Germany as a married couple.
Similarly, it is possible to have a divorce under German law even if neither spouse currently lives in Germany. If the couple were married in Germany, and one (or both) are German citizens but are now living abroad, then they can have their divorce settled by the terms of German divorce law. The spouses can even return to Germany for the divorce proceedings. However, if they prefer not to travel, in some jurisdictions, a local court can hear the divorce case and consult with a German court to ensure that the issue has been carried out correctly.
Should a spouse seek a divorce but not know the location of the other spouse, they need to demonstrate to the court that they have done everything reasonable to find them. It is a broad term involving actions such as contacting the spouse’s friends, their last known residence, the spouse’s workplace and family. At Schlun & Elseven Rechtsanwälte, our family law team provides legal support in all these matters.