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German Law/Getting divorce in Germany


I am Spanish and my wife is German, we got married in Denmark 3 years ago when we lived in Spain.

We live since 2 years ago in Germany and we have a daughter that was born in Spain, almost 3 years old.

We both agree to get divorced, no drama and we also agree to still live together but not as a couple for the best of our child.

How do we proceed to get divorce? We started the process to legalize the marriage in Spain more than 2 years ago but still nothing. and we haven't done anything in Germany about out marriage and register it.

I will really appreciate your help on this subject.

That's actually very simple:

Because you all live in Germany, Germany has jurisdiction. It doesn't matter that you got married in Denmark and that you haven't registered your marriage in Germany.

German divorce law requires that you have been living separated for one year before you file for divorce. However, if you will still live under the same address and you are in agreement about this, you could just claim that you have been living separated for one year already. It's possible to do this while living at the same address. The separation does not need to be filed or recorded anywhere. It's simply a matter of fact, and nobody can prove otherwise.

One of you (the petitioner) will need to hire a lawyer. The other one (the respondent) won't need a lawyer. If one of you has no income or a lower income, it would be better if that person is the petitioner because he/she might get legal aid, i.e. the state pays the lawyer and court fees. You can also qualify for legal aid if you are not a German citizen.

The divorce proceeding will be relatively simple.
The court won't be interested in why you want to divorce. If you agree about maintaining shared custody for your daughter, there won't be any court decision about her. You will simply continue to have shared custody.
If none of you will ask the other one for any money, the court won't get into that either.

Good luck!

My FAQ on divorce in Germany:

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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