German Law/Child Support/Visitation US Military Man VS German Ex-Wife
QUESTION: My fiance is in the military and was stationed in Germany he had a child with a German and married her. They were married about 3 years and he was sent back to the US on orders and she did not want to come and there were issues with the marriage so he divorced her. There was no child support or alimony ordered and it was 50/50 custody. His attorney said if she wanted child support she would have to come to the states and file for a child support order. He pays her $500.00 per month for child support on his own for his 9 year old son even thou it is not court ordered. He also had the child for 2 years here in the states and she paid nothing. She decided she wanted the child back so he sent him back and now she only allows him to talk to the child when she feels like it which is once every couple of months even thou he calls every weekend. She demands more money and makes the rules as far as how she thinks things should be. He would like to get a child support order so he pays the correct amount and get court ordered visitation rights since she is also denying the child to come for visits. What we would like to know is what is the best way to go about this. Does he file here or does it have to be in Germany and how can we find out what he should be paying??? Is the amount determined by US law or German law??? Please advise
ANSWER: Hello Melissa,
the jurisdiction for child visitation and contact orders lies exclusively with Germany because the child resides there. Especially given the fact that there used to be regular contact and that your fiancÚ's son even lived with him for 2 years, I don't see any reason why a Family Court would deny generous visitation rights, including regular phone contacts and visits either in Germany or in the US.
The jurisdiction for child support is given in both countries. If the mother filed for child support, she could decide whether to file in the US (and have US or your respective state law applied) or whether to file in Germany (and have German law applied). Your fiancÚ's attorney's statement that the mother would need to come to and file in the US was wrong.
If your fiancÚ contacts me at email@example.com, I will be happy to do a child support calculation according to German law for him. I would need to know all the details of his finances, including any deductions. German law also allows him to deduct the (reasonable) expenses for child visitation, including flights to and from Germany.
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QUESTION: Can he get an attorney in Germany and file for a child support order and visitation or is she the only one that can do that??? Since she is denying him contact and visitation with the child and there is no child support order what would happen if he stopped paying her the $500.00 per month and put the money in the bank account he has for the child instead or just reduced the amount he sends her???
Of course he can get an attorney in Germany.
He can file for a contact and visitation order, but I would not recommend going straight to the court. I would try the "Jugendamt" (Child & Youth Services) first. Even if they won't help much, the court will involve them anyway and it will make a much better impression if you tried the out-of-court route first.
The father cannot file for a child support order because nobody can request the court to order himself to pay something to another person. The court would say "if you want to pay, just pay".
In the absence of a child support order, ceasing the payment might result in a lawsuit iniitated by the mother.