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German Law/Married in US divorced in Germany

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Question
Me (US Citizen) and my wife (German Citizen) at the time were married in Harris County, Houston, TX in 1983 while on leave from the US Army. We moved to Houston in 1985 after my service. In 1986 she left me to go back to Germany and didn't return. A year or so later I received divorce papers from a German court saying she got a divorce. I had no participation in the hearing or was even informed of it. And I never informed US courts of the divorce because I thought I probably wouldn't marry again. I have looked for the papers but are unable to find them. Fast forward to 2013 and I want to get married again. Who do I contact, department or government entity in Germany, to get a copy of these divorce papers so I can show I'm not married so I can get a marriage license again? Thanks

Answer
Dear James,

You need to contact the Amtsgericht (local court) where your ex-wife filed for divorce. If you want to obtain a copy of the divorce decree you would need to write them a letter in German or go to the court in person. Unfortunately the caseworkers will normally not respond to a English letter because their English is not good. A call alone will also not solve the problem.

I would be glad to organize the divorce decree for you. You can contact me directly at csb@germanlegalservices.com.

Sincerely,
Carolin Schulz-Burgess
German Attorney at Law/Foreign Legal Consultant  

German Law

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Carolin Schulz-Burgess

Expertise

German legal issues on inheritance, divorce, alimony, child custody and support, last wills and testaments, and other problems involving international family and civil law.

Experience

I am a certified German laywer with professional experience in both German and American law firms. Since 2001 I have been working independently at my firm, German Legal Services. I have represented hundreds of clients on matters involving US-German legal issues. One of my firm's areas of specialization is in divorce and child support and custody issues between members of the U.S. Armed Forces and German civilians.

Organizations
World Affairs Council, German Bar Association

Publications
North Carolina Bar Association Newsletter

Education/Credentials
I received my undergraduate and JD degrees both from the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, whose law school is consistently ranked in the top 10 in Germany.

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