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German Law/Paternity and maintenance


Hi. I live and work in the UK and my pregnant ex girlfriend lives in Germany. She does not have a job and is on state benefits. I want to establish firstly, if I am actually the father, and if so, what is she/ the baby entitled to, and what I need to do regarding visitation going forward. Because my finances are limited, and I would have to travel to Germany to see the baby, is this taken in to consideration when maintenance is worked out. Best regards.

Hello Paul,

1. Paternity
You can either acknowledge paternity voluntarily or the mother can initiate a court proceeding against you and the court would then order a DNA test. Of course you can also agree on a private DNA test with the mother, which would be much cheaper.

2. Visitation
Visitation is also best worked out between you and the mother. If you can come to an agreement, there is no need for any court order. If the mother refuses to agree (or she fails to abide by a previous agreement), you can contact either the "Jugendamt" (the German equivalent of CAFCASS) or of course initiate a court proceeding.
I would recommend trying to work something out with the mother first and if that fails, you can contact me again and then we can deal with visitation in more detail.

3. Child support/maintenance
Under German law, you are both liable for child support as well as for maintenance for the mother for the first 3 years after the birth of the baby. The child support has priority, so if not enough money is left after paying child support, the mother won't get anything.
The limitations of your income will of course be taken into account, as will your travelling expenses to Germany as long as they are reasonable (e.g. low-cost airlines instead of nigh-priced flights booked at the last minute).
Because the mother is on welfare, you may also be contacted by the welfare authorities because they might try to ask you to reimburse you for the welfare that they pay. In any case, you only need to pay once and you can apply the same deductions against the welfare agency as you could against the mother.

I'll be happy to calculate the exact amounts for both child support and maintenance, but I would of course need to know all of your financial details. You can contact me at I charge a fee of 150 EUR for such a much more in-depth consultation including the calculation and the explanation of the calculation.

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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