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German Law/German divorce and Retirement


Dear Ms. Schulz-Burgess
I was divorced 10 years ago from my husband in Germany. He is German and continues to live there and I have since moved back to the U.S. and remarried. My questions involve retirement and our 2 daughters. First, I worked while in Germany...I worked full time and part time in a company and owned my own company, Also, my husband and I had a house that was the family residence when he was growing up (he paid his siblings their share). My ex husband worked and continues to work now. I lived in Germany for 13 years and worked approximately 8 of them.
My first question: am I entitled to retirement for the years I worked and taxes I paid? Also, am I entitled to a portion of his retirement? I feel I was duped in the divorce as I received about 10,000 dollars settlement and 40$ per month child support.
Second, are my daughters entitled to the house should he pass away? He never remarried and I wonder what they are entitled to.
Any information you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you

Dear Kim,

You are entitled to your German retirement when you worked for a company in Germany for ca. 8 years. If you worked there for over 5 years you can not ask for a pay out. You have to wait until you turn 65 years old and then you can claim your retirement at the Bundesrentenversicherungsanstalt in Berlin.

I would need to see the divorce degree to see if you get a part of your husband's retirement benefits.

According to the German law you were not allowed to waive child support claims or to settle for less than what your husband had to pay according to German law or the law in the US state were your children grew up. So your children might still have a claim for back support.

You can contact me at if you need further advice or assistance.

Carolin Burgess
German Attorney at Law  

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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