You are here:

German Law/Separation and Child Custody



I have been married to a German citizen since December 2011, we were married in the Caribbean, my home country.  We have am 18month baby.  Have been separated for 2 months now, he has claimed to the court he is unable to afford to pay support for me but now pays 225 Euros per month for the baby.  He has been physically abusive to me in the past and my question is...Can I apply for so;e custody of the baby?  Can the divorce laws in my country apply here in Germany.  What can I do about him not paying support to me?. He has also removed appliances from the marriage home when I was not at home, he also denies having these appliances.  How can I get him to return these items?

Hoping to hear from you soon


Hello Cindy,

1. you can of course apply for sole custody of the child, but you would need to show good reasons why you want the father to be out of the child's life. Usually, shared custody should be upheld even after a couple's separation and divorce. In an international case, it is even trickier to get sole custody because that would allow you to leave Germany together with your child, making it practically impossible for the father to remain in contact with the child.

For more on German child custody law:

2. Because you are both living in Germany, the German court would apply German divorce law (Art. 17 and 14 I no. 2 EGBGB). For divorce it usually does not matter where or under which law you were married, but where you are living and where you file for divorce.

For more on German divorce law:

3. For child support, you can of course take the father to court, but it depends on his financial circumstances if he has to pay child support and if it is worth the litigation.

4. For the appliances you could also go to court and ask for a court order forcing him to return the appliances (but you would need to prove that he has them). Unless you qualify for legal aid (i.e. the state paying your lawyer), that is usually not worth it because the lawyer costs more than the appliances do.

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.