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German Law/Baby outside marriage - Turkey


I'm a 21-year-old Turkish woman living in Turkey, expecting a baby outside marriage from a 28-year-old German man who lives in Germany. We ended our relationship recently and I chose to continue with the pregnancy knowing that I might end up as a single mother. I would like to learn what rights he has over the baby being its biological father. I try not to be too emotional but I must say that I don't really want him around anymore after all of the pain that he made me go through so I'm trying to figure out what legal actions he could possibly take in order to be involved as a parent (I know that he wants to be involved, that he wants to see the baby, and that he might even ask for the custody in the future). If he gets involved and becomes the father on paper (gives the child his surname) what kind of rights does this give him? In other words, if I would give my own surname to the child, does it become harder for him to have rights over the child or to see him/her? If he wants to give his surname to the child and if I want to give mine, what will happen? Please try to understand me and try to answer things from my perspective. I'm a very young mom-to-be who's really hurt and I'm trying to create a future for myself and the baby. If things get uglier between us, would it be hard for me to visit Germany and possibly other EU countries with the baby if he would claim that he's the father of the baby and that he wants the baby to stay in Germany/EU, even if the baby is born in Turkey and is a Turkish citizen (I'm also considering to give birth in the US, so a Turkish/American in that case)? I'm basically trying to understand if and how he could possibly make my life harder in the future. And if and how the law would protect me given that I'm going through the pregnancy alone, giving birth alone, getting no financial and emotional support from him whatsoever, paying all of the baby's expenses myself. Thank you very much for your answer in advance!


ANSWER: Hello Aisha,

if your child will be born in Turkey and you will live in Turkey, only Turkish law will apply on child custody and all other child-related matters.

German law would only apply if the child's habitual residence was in Germany. In that case, the child's last name has no influence on custody or any other paternal rights.

If you will be residing in Turkey, Turkish law will continue to apply if you will be on short trips to Germany in the future. Only if you were to settle down in Germany would German law become applicable.

For a brief introduction into German custody law, I recommend my FAQ on that matter:

All the best!
Andreas Moser

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Mr. Moses,
Thank you very much for your previous answer. There is something else I would like to ask. Is it possible to send an official warning/warning notice via notary to my ex boyfriend internationally? He's in Germany at the moment and I'm in Turkey. If I would ask him to come back home, to talk things through face to face and so on, is there a way I can do this legally? If he would refuse to do so (I think he would) then I would have evidence in the court in the future that I tried my best save my relationship, that I tried to have the father involved but he failed to do so. I have the feeling that this could also help me have full custody. How can I write this warning notice? I think I can have it written by a Turkish lawyer and translated into German but how am I going to send it? What do you think the contents should be (you already have some information on the issue from my previous letter)? I can possibly ask him to come back, tell him that I want to talk face to face, ask him to be involved, can't I? What else do you think could possibly be in a warning letter that would be considered a call and something that I could use against him if he wouldn't answer? Thank you very much for your answer. Have a nice day.

Hello Aisha,

I don't get the point of such a letter.

Child custody has nothing to do with whether your relationship still has a chance or not. Child custody is a legal matter which will be decided based on the laws of the country that has jurisdiction:
- If it will be in Turkey, you would need to consult with a Turkish lawyer.
- If it will be in Germany, you will have sole custody because you are not married ( 1626a III BGB). The father could however file for shared custody ( 1626a II BGB) and the Family Court would not really consider anything that has to do with the relationship between you and your ex-boyfriend. They will only consider the interest of the child. Usually, it serves the interest of the child to have two caring parents instead of only one, so if you wanted to prevent shared custody, the burden of proof would be on you.

Of course you may contact your ex-boyfriend, but at least under German law the relationship between the two of you is kept totally separate from the relationship of the father to the child and of the mother to the child. Regardless of how your relationship ended, you would be expected to continue to cooperate as parents. It's not your child's fault that the relationship ended, after all.

Andreas Moser

German Law

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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

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