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German Law/Alimony after divorce



I am in a relationship with a man who recently divorced his German wife. They were married since 2004 and finally divorced last May. They have a healthy child together who is 10. The child's mother was a stay at home mom for the entire duration of their marriage. The child attends a private school for which his father fully pays for in addition to child support. The school offers extended stay for children whose parents work full time. The mother refuses to find a full time job, she currently works only part time (reason for this is that she claims the 10 year old healthy child who spends most of his day in school requires her care). Additionally, she has been awarded 2000 per month in alimony for 3 months after the divorce was finalized. As the 3 month period is over this month, she filed a request for more alimony.

1. What are the chances of her request being denied? Given that she refuses to work full time, her request does not seem reasonable to me at all.

2. Is there a possibility of alimony being rewarded retrospectively, despite the fact that she was supported by her husband during the separation period?

3. What are usually the reasons why spouses would be awarded alimony after the divorce is finalized?

Thank you very much in advance for your answer, I really appreciate it.

Dear Caroline,

According to German law the mother is allowed to work only part time until the child turns 12 years old if this is necessary because the child needs her care. If this is here the case is questionable if the school offers extended care. It will be up to the judge to decide if she would need to try to find a full time job. The judge could order that she has to apply for full time positions. But the mother has the right to receive alimony until she can arrange that her child goes to the extended care program and she can find a full time job.

So this means it is hard to force her to work full time before the child turns 12 years old. Even if the judge decides she should she could try to delay the process. You also have to consider the legal costs. If both parties have to pay the legal costs or not.

I would be glad to set up a telephone consultation for you and your husband. You can contact me at

Carolin Burgess
Foreign Legal Consultant  

German Law

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Carolin Schulz-Burgess


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


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.

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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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