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German Law/German maintenance law for a child


My friend's ex-husband used to live in Germany with her and their child. She divorced him when the child was 1 year old, this was in 2007. The same year he married his second wife, and moved to South Africa in 2008. He never informed his ex-wife that he got remarried. He did not see his daughter since 2007 either. She filed for sole custody for the child as he had no contact with her. He fought her actions and the court did not give her sole custody, but since then he has only seen her once. He has never paid one cent in maintenance for the child. His ex-wife has been unemployed for about a year now. The state is now paying her a monthly grant. The German court also has a court order that he be held for questioning should he enter Germany, because her does not pay maintenance. I know that he used his South African passport instead of his German passport to enter Germany last year. He owns his own business and owns 1/3 of a property in South Africa, he inherited the property from his father. What can she do as she knows exactly where he lives, but everything is on his new wife's name, except for the house, can she make any claims on his 1/3rd of the property to pay for the maintenance he is in arrears with. What are her options? She does have friends in the same town as her ex-husband in South Africa.

Dear Mary Ann,
I would advice your friend to sue the father in South Africa. Even if she gets a court decision in Germany she will not be able to enforce child support payments if the father lives, works in South Africa and ones only property in South Africa. I don't know the legal system in South Africa but that is her only chance to receive payments.

Carolin Burgess

German Law

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Carolin Schulz-Burgess


German legal issues on inheritance, divorce, alimony, child custody and support, last wills and testaments, and other problems involving international family and civil law.


I am a certified German laywer with professional experience in both German and American law firms. Since 2001 I have been working independently at my firm, German Legal Services. I have represented hundreds of clients on matters involving US-German legal issues. One of my firm's areas of specialization is in divorce and child support and custody issues between members of the U.S. Armed Forces and German civilians.

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I received my undergraduate and JD degrees both from the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, whose law school is consistently ranked in the top 10 in Germany.

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