Divorce proceedings between a German couple who have subsequently split and one or both have migrated outside of the nation may be a source of misunderstanding as to which court has jurisdiction.
Both spouses must be present in the divorce court in Germany to complete the divorce, which is a requirement in Germany. Divorces that take place outside of Germany must also be recognized in Germany.
There may be further complications if the spouse who resides abroad refuses to divorce.
What to Keep in Mind When Seeking Divorce Abroad
- A German family court is responsible for finalizing a divorce between a German citizen residing in Germany and a German citizen living outside of Germany.
- The district court of Berlin-Schoeneberg is often in charge if both spouses are Germans living abroad who wish to divorce.
- A divorce can be granted in the absence of a spouse who has moved away and has failed to answer several summonses from the family court.
- The appropriate law can be determined in advance in a foreign national divorce.
What are the steps to divorce a foreigner or a person who lives abroad?
In certain circumstances, the divorce is handled by a German family court.
If the German spouse staying in Germany wishes to file a divorce application against the spouse who has relocated to another country, the divorce will be handled by the German family court responsible for the couple’s last common home in Germany.
Divorce proceedings can be initiated against a German spouse even if the German spouse has relocated to another country. An international divorce might be challenging at times.
Where a parent has taken their children to Germany, and one parent has remained in their home country, however, the divorce will most likely be handled by the German family court that has jurisdiction over the parent who has chosen to relocate with their children.
The district court of Berlin-Schoeneberg is normally responsible if both German spouses live outside of Germany and desire to divorce.
Germany’s divorce deadline: In some cases, it isn’t necessary to present with a group.
According to 128 paragraph 1 of the legislation on family affairs and voluntary jurisdiction, the combined attendance of the spouses at the divorce date is, in theory, required.
A hearing or interrogation for divorce can be held in another German family court close to the border if a spouse is too far away to be anticipated to attend the hearing or interrogation.
If, for example, an Austrian spouse must go to Hamburg for the divorce date, the family court in Passau might instead hear their case.
In some situations, a written statement from the spouse in another European nation, explicitly indicating the will to divorce and the period and conditions of the separation, may also be adequate by the courts.
A divorce hearing can be held in a German embassy if one of the spouses resides outside of Europe.
If you live outside of Europe, however, you can request that the German consulate in your country hear your case through the local family court.
A divorce hearing at the German embassy in Thailand, for example, is a possibility if a German citizen resides in Thailand following their divorce.
Due to divorce rules, the German judiciary can expedite the hearing. When documents are served overseas (such as an application for divorce), they typically have to be translated into the local language, which takes a lot of time and can extend the process for many years.
As a result, the non-resident spouse must choose a “postal agent” in Germany who can accept court-issued correspondence. Without the spouse and their divorce counsel, this can be anybody in Germany, even an internet legal firm. As a result, this international divorce will be completed in a lot less time.
A foreign spouse may not desire to divorce in the German family court or have just “gone into hiding” to avoid the process.
In cases when the spouse does not show up for a hearing (either at an embassy or a court near the border) despite several summonses, the family court has the authority to grant a divorce in the absence of the spouse concerned.
A public service, or notification in a court of posting a document for public service, may be used instead of a spouse who is overseas and cannot be located.
On the other hand, the courts require a lot from those who divorce in absentia. There must be proof that the service overseas was performed satisfactorily multiple times or that the efforts to locate a spouse were documented.
For example, you can find out his last known whereabouts by discovering his home address, previous employment, family, or anybody else who could understand where he is. Public service might be considered if the foreign state does not have a legal assistance agreement with the United States.
Divorce and Family Law Applied
In divorces involving foreigners, the question of whether German or foreign law governs is frequently asked. The same rules apply if you’re an alien national living in Germany with your spouse.
The appropriate law can be decided in advance in case of a foreign national divorce.
A European Union rule referred to as the ROM III regulation has been in effect since June 21, 2012. This EU-wide legislation, which covers stays in other EU nations as well, is immediately applicable to German law.
If one of the couples is a German citizen, they can choose the law to be used in the case of a divorce ahead of time.
As an example, Germans who marry Spaniards can choose to divorce under Spanish law, even though they both live in Germany.
According to Article 8 of the Rome III Regulation, if no national law has been established for divorce, the spouses can also choose to use the family law of another state for their divorce if they have their usual residency in another country at the time of the court being seised.
law of the state where one or both spouses last had their habitual residence, if it does not exist before more than a year before the court is summoned and one of the spouses is still habitually resident there when the court is called or otherwise. b)
When the court takes jurisdiction, it will apply the law of the state where it is located or else the direction of the country in which both spouses reside at the time of the court’s takeover.
Requirements for divorce in other countries
The District Court of Berlin-Schoeneberg is primarily responsible for divorces when both parties are German and live outside of Germany.
Divorce is conceivable outside of Germany, where the ‘domiciliary principle’ applies exclusively to the couples’ ordinary place of residence.
One year of residency and two months of contemplation are required in Switzerland before divorcing, but in Denmark, a divorce can be granted after one year or six months of separation under Danish law.
If one spouse is of German nationality and the other is of a different race, this also applies to divorce in Switzerland or Denmark. On the other hand, divorce in Austria is governed by different rules.
How are divorces from countries other than the United States recognized?
German law must recognize divorces that have taken place outside of the nation in which the divorcing parties reside.
Foreign divorces are recognized by the court system of the federal state in which one of the ex-spouses maintains his usual residence.
The recognition procedure necessitates submitting a formal application, which must be presented regularly to the higher regional court with jurisdiction.