Divorce in Germany

Divorce in Germany

Updated on Wednesday 24th August 2022

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Divorce-in-GermanyGrounds for divorce in Germany

The German Civil Code makes no discrimination between spouses in case of divorce. The applicable law in case of divorce proceedings in Germany is the law governing the effects of marriage at the time a petition for divorce is submitted. The following grounds are taken into consideration in case of marriage dissolution by divorce:

  • - the spouses must have lived separately for at least one year,  one of the spouses has filed for divorce and the other one has consented,
  • - the spouses have lived separately for three years, case in which only one spouse may file for divorce.

Marriage dissolution is also possible even if the spouses have not lived apart for one year, if the marriage poses difficulties to one of the spouses. In this case, however, a German court may ask for additional information and proof.

The divorce procedure in Germany

Divorce proceedings in Germany may begin once one of the spouses has filed for divorce. The German legislation does not allow for common divorce petition. Also, only the spouse requesting the divorce must be represented by German lawyers. The Family Court rules in divorce cases in Germany. Once brought before the court, the judge will consider issues like child custody and support, spousal maintenance and division of common property.

If the divorce procedure is conducted according to the German legislation, the supply balance needs to be regulated; meaning pension rights earned during the marriage must be equally divided between spouses. In this case the divorce procedure may take at least six months. The divorce procedure takes about ten weeks if there is no need to calculate the supply balance. The supply balance is not calculated if:

  • - the marriage has lasted at most three years,
  • - both spouses have waivered the supply balance,
  • - both spouses agree the divorce procedure is tired under a foreign law, which is possible if one of the spouses lives abroad.

Are there any other available marriage dissolution procedures in Germany?

The German legislation also allows marriage annulment and legal separation. Legal separation does not require any legal formalities to be completed, but for one of the spouses to move separately. Marriage annulment, on the other hand, may be declared by a German court only. Marriage annulment may happen if one of the spouses is already married, is not full of age or if parties have not registered the marriage with the Civil Register.

Division of assets for a divorce in Germany 

One important aspect of every divorce relates to the division of assets. According to the German legislation, spouses filing for divorce will separate their common household assets, in the sense that each partner can keep the assets he or she owns. 
The expensive objects acquired by both partners during the marriage are jointly owned. At the dissolution of marriage, the spouses will have to sell the objects and share the value of the sale. Another procedure is that one of the partners transfers his or her ownership rights to the other partner, who will offer a sum of money for that specific asset to the partner who has renounced his rights. 
If you need further information on the division of assets in case of a divorce, please contact our team of lawyers, who can provide you with assistance and legal representation. 

For legal representation in case of divorce proceedings you may contact our law firm in Germany.