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German Law/Divorce in Germany or US


I was in the military and recently got out, I got married to a German woman in 1999, and although unofficially separated in 2007( we never filed for separation)  I paid her over half my paycheck every two weeks until I left the army recently.  I am now residing back in the US and need to know do I have to file through Germany, or can I file for divorce in the US?  What is the fastest way? I would like to think since we have been separated for so long, it could be done quickly.  We have  a son together, but I am waiving custody rights at this time. I would like to see him of course, but with budget constraints, that will be very hard to do.

Thank you

Whether the US, or more precisely your current state of residence, already has jurisdiction over you and for the planned divorce proceeding depends on how long you have bee living there.

Because your wife and son still live in Germany, Germany definitely has jurisdiction.

If both countries have jurisdiction, you can pick the country where you file for divorce. Because the US paperwork would need to be served to Germany according to the Hague Service of Process Convention, I would estimate that filing in Germany directly would be simpler and quicker.
Please note that you may also qualify for German legal aid even if you are not German yourself and don't live there.

In Germany there would be no need to waive any custody rights. If none of the parties requests a custody decision, the parents automatically maintain shared custody after a divorce and are supposed to work out the details between themselves.

For more on divorce in Germany:
For more on child custody law in Germany:

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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