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German Law/custody of sister's daughter


My husband is a German citizen and a US resident, I'm a US citizen. We both live in the US. His sister has been sentenced to jail time and her daughter is going to be taken away from her and put into foster-care. Our niece's father does not have custody or would be able to care for her. We are register as her godparents in Germany and would like to have her live with us in the US in relative foster care. My husband has started some of the required paperwork, but it's difficult to get information from here. How should we proceed? Do we have any chance of being able to bring her to live with us in the US?

Dear Kate,

I would be glad to help in this matter to provide a stable home for your husband's niece. I had a similar case before. The mother was mentally ill and couldn't take care of her two children. I organized custody for the biological father in the US for the first child. And I also organized the adoption of the sibling (who had a different father). Both children live now in the US with the family of my former client.

I would be glad to organize that you guys can get the permission that the child can live with you while the mother is in jail. I would need to work with the social worker in Germany and with the International Social Services here in the US to get your family approved. I think your chances are very good if you are able to offer a stable home for your niece.

You can contact me at My fees are very reasonable.  

Carolin Burgess
German Lawyer  

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.

World Affairs Council, German Bar Association

North Carolina Bar Association Newsletter

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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