You are here:

German Law/child custody


My son is 6 months old, was born in Germany. My husband and i have lived in Germany for less than a year. I am British, he is German. Unfortunatly i have suffered from severe post natal depression and psychosis. The marriage has totally broken down and i need to return to the UK (i do not speak german, have no social support and am very isolated). In the UK i have a large family. My husband drinks to access and is often verbally abusive, he has been physically abusive on 3 occasions. He has the baby and has said i cannot have him and cannot ever take him to the uk. I have no evidence against my husband (the hospital didn't take photos of brusing and he has not been caught drink driving). How can i proceed so i do not loose my baby. Thank you

Hello Elizabeth,

this will have to come down to a custody proceeding in Germany ( because you will need the court's consent to move your child to the UK.

Please do not attempt to take your son to the UK without the father's consent. This would constitute an international child abduction (, the UK court would most likely order the return of your son and your chances in future custody proceedings will be severely tarnished.

My advice would be not to go into a custody proceeding before you have built up the evidence.
- If the hospital didn't take photos, you can take photos.
- Get the hospital reports.
- Find friends. I know that you mentioned that this is hard, but the legal residence of your child for the foreseeable future will be in Germany, so you need to work on getting a support network and witnesses.
- About the abuse and the drinking: it will be relevant in a custody proceeding if it is directed against the baby. If it is directed against you, it will be relevant in a divorce case, but its relevance for a child custody proceeding is limited. People can be terrible husbands but wonderful fathers, to put it bluntly.

Having said that, the statistical probability still strongly favours you as the mother in a custody case, especially for an infant baby. In order to give you even more practical and individual advice, I would need to know more about the specific circumstances, both your backgrounds, your ideas for the future and so on. I'd be happy to schedule a telephonic consultation for you.

Andreas Moser

German Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Andreas Moser


Extensive experience in international family law, especially international child abductions and child custody cases. All other areas of German law as well: constitutional law, criminal law, business and contract law, immigration law, inheritance law, and so on.


Lawyer in Germany from 2002 to 2009. Lawyer for US Army JAG Corps before. Bar-certified specialisation in family law and in administrative law. Articles and lectures about international and domestic family law.


2000 Law Degree from University of Regensburg, Germany 2002 admitted to the bar (until 2009) 2013 MA Philosophy at the Open University, UK

©2017 All rights reserved.