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German Law/Residence Orders


Dear Andrew,

Is there the equivalent of a Residence Order in Germany so that children are secured in the care of one parent rather than the other?

Many thanks,


Hello Rachel,

yes, there is. It's called "Aufenthaltsbestimmungsrecht". (And that long word is actually only the word for "residence", without the "order". :-)

If both parents have legal custody, either of them can petition the Family Court to award them the right of physical custody. That means that the court formally does not say with which parent the child will live, but which parent will make the decision about where the child will live.

Of course the other parent then has visitation and contact rights.

I once put together some FAQ about child custody laws 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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