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German Law/Divorce from a German National


Dear Mr Andreas,

I am asking this question on behalf of a friend.

She (Indonesian) was married to a German man for 10 years and got officially married in Germany. After she found out he was unfaithful, she went back home to Indonesia. He sent her divorce papers in July this year to which she has not answered till today. In principle he is asking to divorce without a proper monthly allowance or a separation of assets. What rights does she have and how does she need to respond in order to get her rights?

Kind regards,

First of all, I am a bit unsure about which "divorce papers" the husband sent. In Germany, the spouses don't send around divorce papers, only the court does. If you wish, you can e-mail me the paperwork that your friend received and I can take a look at it. Then we'll know for certain what it is and what stage of the proceeding your friend is in.

In Germany, the Family Court won't rule on alimony or separation of assets unless one of the spouses ask for it. If no spouse makes such an application, the court will simply issue the divorce.

Your friend will therefore need to hire a lawyer in Germany to represent herself and to make the appropriate filings. She does need to return to Germany in person for that.

For more on German divorce law, please see my FAQ on that subject:

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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