10 FAQ on child custody law in Germany

I have noticed that I receive many e-mails with the same questions, so I have started to post the most frequent questions – and of course the answers to them – for everyone to read for free. As this section might already answer many of your questions, I invite you to browse these FAQ before you contact me (or any other lawyer) about your case.

I have also posted FAQ about divorce in Germanyinheritance law in Germany, German citizenship law, about international child abduction, about filing a constitutional complaint if your human rights are violated in Germany and about how to work with me as your lawyer. You can see the full list of FAQ on my website.

1. When does German child custody law apply?

German law applies whenever a child has its habitual residence in Germany. The citizenship of the child and/or the parents is irrelevant.

2. If the parents are married, who has child custody? Does the father or the mother have stronger rights?

If the parents are married, they both have joint or shared custody. Both father and mother enjoy exactly the same rights. The same applies if the parents were not married when the child was born but they get married later (§ 1626 I no. 2 BGB).

3. Can we have joint or shared custody if we are not married?

Yes. You just need to sign a declaration of shared custody (§ 1626 I no. 1 BGB). You can already sign this declaration before the birth of the child (§ 1626 b II BGB), but it needs to be signed in front of a government or consular official (§ 1626 d I BGB).

4. What are my rights as the father if I am not married to the mother and she refuses to sign a declaration of shared custody?

There has finally been a change in the child custody law in May 2013 and unmarried fathers can now petition the Family Court for an order of joint custody. This petition can only be denied if the court believes that joint custody contravenes the best interest of the child.

5. What happens in the case of a divorce?

Usually and in many cases: nothing. Unless one of the parents petitions the court for a custody decision, the court will not consider child custody. In that case, the parents will continue to have shared custody even after the separation and the divorce.

I generally recommend to try this route as it spares the child te necessity to appear in court and testify. (On a personal note, both my parents continued to have shared custody for me when they divorced, so that I never had to go attend court during their divorce. I am thankful for that.)

6. Which factors will the court consider when deciding about custody?

The court will apply two tests: (1) Is it in the interest of the child to end the shared custody of both parents and (2) which parent’s custody is in the better interest of the child?

If there is any chance that the parents can still cooperate (as parents, not as spouses) in the future, the court may not wish to award custody to one of them at all, but will instead maintain shared custody. This is also an important factor to keep in mind if you find yourself in a custody dispute. If you know that you are not likely to win the direct contest in the eyes of the court (typically if you are the father of a very young child), you can petition for shared custody being maintained. If you are very cooperative, the court will have a hard time taking away custody from you completely.

If the court needs to make a decision between both parents, it will consider who is better suited to take care of the child, who has been doing this for the past, who has more time (hence the preference for non-working mothers in many cases) and who will be more cooperative towards the other parent (especially regarding visitation and contact and information). With increasing age of the child, the child’s wishes will also be considered.

7. What is the “Jugendamt”?

The Jugendamt is not part of the court system, but a government agency supposed to take care of children and teenagers if their welfare is in danger or their interests are at stake. It can be compared to CAFCASS in the UK or Child & Youth Services in other countries.

In a custody dispute, the court will always involve the Jugendamt and ask them to speak to the parents and the children, make house calls and write up a report with recommendations. While these recommendations are not binding, in reality the judge will go with them. In light of this it is especially sad that the Jugendamt has a very bad track record when it comes to dealing with parents who don’t live in Germany. I have seen many cases myself in which the Jugendamt didn’t even bother to contact the foreign parent.

8. Can the government take away my children?

In extreme cases, yes. (§§ 1666, 1666 a BGB). If the government thinks that your child’s welfare is in danger, it can order the removal of your child from the family as a last resort. However, you can of course appeal against this in court. Very often, these decisions by the Jugendamt are overturned by the Family Court because the petitioner can show that the government did not exhaust all other possible options before taking this drastic measure.

9. What happens once my child turns 18?

Once your child turns 18, it is no longer a child in the legal sense. Custody law no longer applies. Your child is a free person.

10. I don’t like all of this. Can I just take my child and leave Germany?

That depends on whether you have sole custody and/or if the other parent agrees. If both parents agree, they can always leave Germany with their child or send the child away. If the other parent does not agree, you have to be very careful to not commit an international child abduction.

About Andreas Moser

You will most likely find me in the forest, next to the lake, reading a book. Just follow the cigar smoke!
This entry was posted in Family Law, German Law, Germany, Law and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

52 Responses to 10 FAQ on child custody law in Germany

  1. Um .. have you posted this before? Or am I just hallucinating again? (Feel free to answer “Yes” to the 2nd question, regardless of the 1st answer…..) ;)

    • I don’t think I have, but I have written similar FAQ about divorce law, inheritance law and citizenship law in Germany. And there’s even more to come.

      • mark donnelly says:

        hi andreas, i’m having issues with my ex about maintenance money for my son. i’ll explain below. are you able to help with my legal rights.

        ——————————————————————————–

        In October last year my ex-partner took off with my son back to Germany without giving me any reason for doing so. I was then asked to start paying maintenance money from the social services in Germany. I have no problem paying money for my son and we came to a mutual decision that I would pay €133. As I was asked to do, I sent the German social copies of my wage slips. I was then told that what I was paying isn’t enough and that they require €225. When I asked how they got their figures it seems they also took into account over time. My over time is not guaranteed and I have not had any to work since October last year because the work dried up and I had an accident which left me incapacitated for 5 months. I cannot afford to pay the amount they’re asking for. I get paid on average £1600 per month and my outgoings are £1500 appox. also I send the current money via internet banking and I am charged £10 to transfer the money, so every month i’m actually paying around €143- what ever that works out as in pounds (depending on the exchange rate)The letters I receive from Germany are sent to me in German which I cannot read and I’m having to try and interpret them through Google translator which is really poor at translating and i cannot get the full understanding of the letter content. Is there not something somewhere that says that they have to provide these documents in a language I can understand? What are my obligations with such letters if I cannot read them?

        Secondly- What are my rights with regards to my son? I’m paying money for him, I have Germany asking for more money than I can afford and I don’t even get to see him. She does call me on Skype every week but honestly- have you ever tried to keep a 1.5 yr old in one place for a long time? also the picture quality is really poor and the call is frequently lost. I’m lucky if I get 1/2 an hour a week with him. As he is in Germany I can’t go and see him every weekend. If Germany get their way then I won’t even be able to afford plane tickets to go and see him and what little contact I have already will be lost. currently I have made it over about twice a year since he was born and the price of the ticket is around £220. Since she left and took my boy to Germany does she have a responsibility to let me see my child and take him to Scotland to see me? She has been to Scotland twice since she left to go back to Germany last year but the time I have had with him is been negligible. At the times I do get to see him i’m not really allowed to do much and I only really get to spectate my son.

        My ex-partner has also refused to teach my son to speak English and although there’s nothing that says she must, I really do believe that she is trying to push me out of the way and give me no contact at all.

        Regarding my son I would like answers to the following questions:

        -what are my rights regarding maintenance payments to my son in Germany?
        -who’s countries laws to we follow in regards to calculating payments, I might be wrong but I’ve been told overtime isn’t taken into account in the uk if it isn’t regular?
        -what am I to do with the letters from the social services in Germany which are sent in German, which I cannot read?
        -am I obliged to pay the amount asked for if I cannot afford it?
        -am I obliged to pay what they ask since I get little access to my son?
        -what are my ex-partners obligations to let me see my son and what can I do to gain more access?
        -should the price of the plane tickets and cost of money transfer be taken into account when calculating the maintenance payment?
        -what are my rights to see my son?
        -what are my options in regards to finding representation with my above case

        I have been to seek advice from a family solicitor in Aberdeen but she was unable to help very much as I was told it was a matter for a solicitor who deals in European law- there aren’t any in Aberdeen. I was also told it would be costly too. I inquired about legal aid and was told I make too much to qualify even though after all my outgoings are taken and I’m left with apporx £100 for the month. I was told it’s because it’s all automated and that I make too much regardless of my out goings.

        I need to find some answers to my above situation because I cannot believe there’s nothing I can do and I must give in to the demands of the social services in Germany. I must have some rights with regards to this and seeing my son and what can I do if I cannot afford representation. This whole situation is very hard to deal with mentally and emotionally and I feel like I’m out of options and don’t know where to start? My son means so much to me and I just want a fair chance to be his father. I feel like I’m paying and getting nothing for it and now Germany is asking for even more money for still little gain.

        Please help if you can or put me in touch with someone who can.

        Thanks for reading

        Mark Donnelly

      • I’ll be happy to help, but I think it’s better to send me an e-mail (moser@moser-law.com) to set up a personal consultation because there are just too many personal questions to deal with to discuss them here on in public.

      • meroeh says:

        Hi
        is there a law in germany that gives automatic custody to one of the parents when the other parent has not had any contact with the children for a certain amount of time?

      • No.
        In such a case, you could however go to the Family Court and ask that the custodial rights of the other parent be declared dormant (§ 1674 I BGB) or you could try to obtain sole custody.

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  4. rob says:

    Hello Andrew. thank you for writing this. can you please read http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0CD8QFjAE&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.tagesschau.sf.tv%2FNachrichten%2FArchiv%2F2012%2F09%2F26%2FSchweiz%2FSession%2FGemeinsames-Sorgerecht-soll-auch-rueckwirkend-gelten&ei=KzlkUNCYBNKX0QWXuYCYBg&usg=AFQjCNH_a1cqk4yAKqRGUdACTiv8sda_Tw and please share your opinion on this new law. The National Council decided by 109 to 63 votes with 1 abstention. it seems to have been voted on last couple of days. would love to know what you think. thank you.

    • Hello Rob,
      your link refers to a Swiss law, while I am a lawyer from Germany. I am not at all familiar with Swiss law.
      I can still comment on it, but I may miss some very basic points which may not be mentioned in the article, but will be known to all practitioners of Swiss law.

  5. rob says:

    oh, I’m sorry i thought this was German law :( as the article was in German. i think i got my hopes up. My son was illegally taken to Germany and i have a Hague convention case on going. thank you so much for your quick reply. So i take it an unmarried father still only has the rights to sue the mother to gain custody still in Germany? thank you again sir.

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  10. ancel says:

    I heard that starting this year, single fathers can apply for joint custody?
    I am an US citizen, father of a 22 months old girl. I moved to germany to get closer to her but her mom isn’t letting me have my daugther for a day (I want to go to park or just spend a day alone with). What should I do to get that right?
    Your advices will be greatly appreciated!

  11. Reginald Seabreeze says:

    You answered my custody questions, I will need to recheck my paperwork that was use to get my son’s US passport.
    My issue is that my girlfriend wants to move out and take our son. What I am afraid of is, we live in Cologne, but she is from Hamburg, and may want to move back there with our son. Do I have any right that keeps them or my son from moving that far away?
    Peace

  12. Beebs says:

    Andreas Moser,
    I am in an interesting situation at the moment. My daughter was born in Schoenberg Berlin in 2010. She has dual citizenship. I have shared custody signed before she was born. I went to uni in the USA and during that time my relationship fell apart. She became pregnant and is going to get married to her now fiancee. I am moving back at the end of the year. I am concerned for my custody agreement and the complications that will occur when they get married. I am on good terms with my child and my ex. If anything happens to my ex we both agree that my daughter should come live with me at that point. I am stuck in my research due to my lack of understanding German law. What can I do?

    • If you have a shared custody agreement in accordance with § 1626a I no. 1 BGB, the mother would need to apply to the Family Court in Germany if she wanted to change that.
      Your best strategy for that case is to continue to have regular ad quality contact with your daughter and to remain involved in the decisions regarding her to document that you are actively exercising your custody. The more involved you are, the less likely it is that the mother would be successful with a petition for sole custody.
      The marriage of the mother will not have any direct legal impact on your (shared) custody, as the new husband is not the father and won’t become the father.

  13. Nick wride says:

    Hello , I wonder if anyone can help. I am british , my wife is German , but brought up in England and qualified as a UK lawyer. She has just been given sole residency in Germany by the UK courts and I believe this is not in their interests. There are also one or two minor matters of child welfare I am concerned about but not their day to day welfare . The UK courts denied my bond request and I fear she will vary the terms of the court after the statuary 3 months . Is there anything I can do in Germany to prevent variation and to express my concerns ?

  14. Nick wride says:

    My apologies this refers to three children.

  15. jasmin enero says:

    I’m from south america and my husband is german, we get married the same time our baby born, so i move here to be with him and our son, now after 3 years, I want file for divorce, but i’m a full time mommy, I don’t have money, job, family, home here, what can i do?

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  17. jo says:

    I have a 4 months child with a german girl,but our relationship is not working and i am planning of moving out,We are staying in her parents house and her parents dont really likes me so i dont know whats the best for me…wi

  18. Andrew Melillo says:

    I have a hard one .german man marries jamaica woman in jamaica.the girl moves to germany with him an has a baby .then they move to. Switzerland.the woman been sleeping in the room. With the baby for a year because she wants seperation an divorse.she. wants ti move e back to jamaica to get the divorse but he refuses tiilet her go. With the baby she wont leave the baby how can she leave with the baby to jamaica without the father consent do she can get a divorse

  19. Maria Zahid says:

    i am a pakistani woman.i have married with a german national pakistani man since 5 years but our relationship is not going good,we are always fighting with each other. i have a child ( 17 months age )now my husband ask me to go back to pakistan without child and he said because the child has german nationality the german court will also give the custody to him not me.please tell me is this true, just because that i dont have german nationality will i lost my child.

    • No, this is not at all true. You can also remain Germany after the divorce because you are the mother of a German child.

      • Shad says:

        My brother lives in Germany his wife left him and took away the kids , 2 girls (12 and 6) . He knows that the girls love him despite the problems between the parents. Now the judge demand him to see the girls for 5 minutes by one of the officer or watever from government but still they didn’t come to see him . He knows the the mother forced them to say . What should he do? Does the girls opinion affect his case?

      • Because this is a question about visitation/contact and not about custody, I’d really like to keep it separate. I’ll be happy to put up a similar list of FAQ about visitation/contact once somebody will send me a book from my wishlist to do so.

      • Shad says:

        To say no. They don’t want to see him … Edited

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  21. jamila says:

    hi im a 21 year old from London and my Cousin has recently passed away in Germany i came to her funeral to find out her Kids have been taking into care. i want to know what are my chances of being able to get custody or even to adopt them?

    • That depends on a lot of circumstances, like what the father or other relatives will do, how close you are to the children, what kind of live you could offer them. At 21, you would also need to show that you are more responsible than the average 21-year old. We would also need to explain why it would be in the children’s best interest to leave Germany and move to the UK.

      Please feel free to contact me to set up a telephonic consultation, during which we could speak about all these points and about the procedure that would need to be initiated.

  22. Ute says:

    Question we paid child support to a minor which is now 23 married and has a family of her own in germany. The child support account got closed in the US in mistake where they overlooked the child went to a gymnasium and there is child support owed. Now the german gov requested to reopen the case. We as the other half parents where not notified of the case for 12 month just bang overnight the order showed up. The Family Support here in the State excused them self stating they did not know if our address is still current and then after 12 month receiving the order they finaly sent it to our home address which had not changed in the last 10 years nad where we still where in written communitcation the the Familly Support. Anyhow now they want another 13500 dollar and sent out a garnishment oder plus and letter to us stating their are very sorry for the inconvience and the mistake the Familily support made etc. They also reported to Sate, Fed, hunting etc. The problem is not a mistake was made, the problem is my husband got a new job where you can not have back to back child support owed. The letter states that it was their fault but just generaly. So we tried to communicate since it was not our fault to pay the money ech month via wire, the record we had with them from 2006 -2011 shows there was never a problem with not receiving the child suspport, and to get a letter stating that my husband even do he has to pay the child support it his not his fault he is in default. On top of that, the german gesetzbuch reads that you dont have to pay money you also can do material support if a child takes an additional eductation and that both parents are responsible for this child support for that period. Not sure why they did not gave us the option to choose who we want to support the kiddo for the school period when the german law allows you to choose between $$ or material things like rent for an appartment, car , food, paying for the books etc.

    • Ute says:

      On top of this its impossible to communice with the Family Support Divsion even do that they admit they made a big mistake they are not able to work with both parents equaly. They do not read orders properly. And they ruin your job life where it could take them just 5 minutes to set up a statement that yes the parent has to pay the support however its not the parents fault that the support is in default since our division made a hughe mistage 24 3 years ago not know about the german law and closing this support account in mistake. I mean what is the big deal if you have sent the parent a letter aleady apoliziges for it doing it properly so the parent who took care all these years of his part is not loosing his job. Because then you not getting a penny without him having a job. Thats easy common sense?

    • Because both issues lead to a lot of questions, I would like to keep child custody (the topic of this thread) and child support separate. I’ll be happy to post a similar list of FAQ on child support in Germany as soon as somebody deems it important enough to mail me one of the books from my wishlist.

      Alternatively, I can of course look at your case specifically and we can set up a telephonic consultation. I charge 150 EUR for that.

  23. Lilly says:

    I’m a US citizen. My boyfriend and I (we are not married) are going to have a baby In About 3 months. My boyfriend is a German citizen and relatively successful in terms of his career. I’ve agreed to move to Germany to benefit our new “family”, but in the process have seriously diminished my salary and will now be working from home, part time, for my job with an American company. I’ve chosen to take these setbacks in my own career so that I can be home with our child and put in the time and effort to make this “family” situation work. My boyfriend works a lot (usually between 10-12 hours a day) and travels weekly for his job. I’m worried that if things don’t work out between the two of us that I will be largely disadvantaged when it comes to custody of our child. I’m also worried that, because he makes so much more money than I do, he will be favored in the eyes of the court if it comes to a custody dispute. Ideally I would love to have the option of taking our child back to the US where I have a full support system of family and friends if the relationship ends badly.

    Is there anything I can do now (before baby is born) to ensure I will have the best opportunity to get custody of my child, should it come to that? Does marriage help or hurt my options for custody?

    • 1. Money and income are irrelevant in a custody dispute. With both your workload, a court in Germany would most likely favour you because you have more time to take care of your child.
      2. As long as you don’t sign a joint custody declaration and your boyfriend doesn’t file for shared custody, then you will have sole custody. That means you could move to the US with your child without the father’s consent.
      3. If you will sign a joint custody declaration or the father will file for shared custody, then you could no longer move to the US with your child without his permission. Doing so would constitute an international child abduction.
      4. As marriage automatically leads to joint custody, it is not in your interest to get married. Because you will be the mother of a German baby, you don’t need marriage for a residence permit.
      5. You could try to work out an agreement with your boyfriend, under which you would be allowed to return to the US with the child anytime and in which he waives his rights under the Hague Child Abduction Convention, but it is questionable how that would hold up many years down the road, especially if the circumstances will change dramatically.

      • Lilly says:

        Andreas,

        Thank you for all the info! I really appreciate it. I will talk with him about our options.

        -Olivia

  24. Aladdin Hanafy says:

    Sehr geehrter Herr

    Ich schreibe Ihnen diese Meldung mit einer sehr tiefen Trauer und ein sprachlos Worte … mein Name ist Aladdin Hanafy ein ägyptischer Mann, der eine deutsche Frau in Ägypten traf im Jahr 2007 .. während eines Jahres waren wir emotional auf der jeweils anderen angezogen und vereinbart, dass wir heiraten, einen Live in Ägypten zusammen , als sie beschlossen, Deutschland zu verlassen und mit mir leben in Ägypten .. leider habe von ihr 06/ 12/2008 aufgrund eines ägyptischen Ehevertrag verheiratet … und nach 2 Jahren Ehe sie schwanger wurde von mir mit einer Tochter .. dann fragte sie mich , nach Deutschland zu fliegen , bevor Lieferzeit und wird dort für die bessere Gesundheit und Pflege Dienstleistungen zu liefern , und sie wird nach 2 Monaten um die Erlaubnis, mit dem Baby zurück zu fliegen zurück zu sein .. Ich habe für diesen über sie wird eine bessere Versorgung gibt und eine deutschsprachige Ärzte im Krankenhaus vereinbart .. sie lieferte unser Baby in 07/07 ? 2010 und wartete ich mit meiner Mutter für ihr , um wieder nach der Geburt , aber sie tat es nicht .. Ich kontaktierte sie von Zeit zu Zeit , und sie erwähnte, dass sie nicht erlaubt ist, zurück zu fliegen .. dann , nachdem ich sie viele Male kontaktiert sie bat mich, ihr ein Papier mit meiner Unterschrift einverstanden und gab ihr das Recht vor, jederzeit ohne meine unmittelbare Geld fliegen mit der Tochter von jedem Flughafen in Ägypten zu senden … Ich habe nicht damit einverstanden sind , wie ich fühlte, dass die Erpressung mich für das Sehen meiner Tochter … ich hielt Kontakt mit ihr, aber nicht gut reden , nach Ägypten zu kommen … dann im Jahr 2013 mit ihr in Verbindung i bat sie , mir zu erlauben , um meine Tochter zu sehen , und ich versprach ihr , die deutsche Ehe zu machen, wenn das, was sie will, dass ich zu tun .. wenn sie Angst , nach Ägypten zu kommen, ist ich werde zu ihr fliegen, wenn sie wollen .. aber immer wieder weigerte sie sich , mich zu sehen und meine Tochter sich weigerte , nach Ägypten zu kommen, um meine Mutter zu ermöglichen und mich sah meine Tochter zum ersten Mal .. als sie weiß, meine Mutter ist jetzt Färben und sie sah nie ihre Enkelin .. sie in einer sehr sinnlose Art und Weise gehandelt hat mit mir wie ein Vater , der das Recht um zu sehen, seine einzige Tochter behauptet, dass ich nicht das Recht haben, sie zu sehen und zu ihrem Vater bekam sein .. Ich komme zu Ihnen jetzt und senden Ihnen diese Mail Sie betteln , um mich zu sehen, meine Tochter noch einmal in meinem Leben … sie ist die einzige Tochter i geträumt .. ich kann nicht mit der Idee, dass meine Tochter von mir mit dieser Art gestohlen leben .. Ich bin völlig kaputt , wie ein Teil von mir ist in Deutschland und ich bin hilflos , auch sie zu sehen .. von einem Vater , die etwas tun würde, nur um seine einzige Tochter zu sehen .. Ich bitte Sie , mir zu helfen …

    Aladdin Hanafy

    B.S

    Meine Tochter lebt in Lübben mit ihrer Mutter in der Haptstrasse …

    Dear Sir

    I write to you this message with a very deep sorrow and a speechless words … my name is Aladdin Hanafy an Egyptian man who met a German woman in 2007 in Egypt .. during one year we were emotionally attracted to each others and agreed that we marry an live in Egypt together as she agreed to leave Germany and live in Egypt with me .. unfortunately got married from her in 06 / 12 / 2008 due to an Egyptian marriage contract … and after 2 years of marriage she got pregnant from me with a daughter .. then she asked me to fly to Germany before delivery time and will deliver there for the better health services and care and she will be back after 2 months to be allowed to fly with the baby back .. i have agreed for this regarding she will get a better care there and a German speaking doctors in the hospital .. she delivered our baby in 07 / 07 ? 2010 and i waited with my mother for her to get back after delivery but she didn’t .. i contacted her time after time and she mentioned she is not allowed to fly back .. then after i contacted her many times she asked me to send her a paper with my signature agreeing and giving her the right to fly with the daughter from any airport in Egypt any time without my immediate allowance … i didn’t agree to this as i felt that the blackmailing me for seeing my daughter … i kept contacting her but no good persuading her to come to Egypt … then in 2013 i contacted her begging her to allow me to see my daughter and i promised her to make the German marriage if that what she wants me to do .. if she is afraid to come to Egypt i will fly to her if she want .. but again and again she refused me seeing my daughter and refused to come to Egypt to allow my mother and me seeing my daughter for the first time .. as she knows my mother is dyeing now and she never saw her granddaughter .. she acted in a very senseless way with me as a father who got the right to see his only daughter claiming that i don’t have the right to see her and to be her father .. i come to you now and send you this mail begging you to help me seeing my daughter even for once in my life … she is the only daughter i dreamed of .. i cant live with the idea that my daughter is stolen from me with this way .. I’m completely broken as a part of me is in Germany and i’m helpless even seeing her .. from a father who would do any thing only to see his only daughter .. i beg you to help me …

    Aladdin Hanafy

    B.S

    My daughter lives in Luebben with her mother in the Haptstrasse …

    • Hello Aladdin,

      if you have legal paternity established (which I don’t know for sure yet), then you do of course have visitation rights. It’s probably easier to use this to get a visa to go to Germany, but after regular visits there, the German court might also allow visitation and contact in Egypt.

      If you contact me directly, I’ll be happy to set up a Skype or phone consultation about all the legal requirements and process to get to see your daughter. I charge 150 € for such a consultation.

  25. kollin4real@yahoo.com says:

    Good day.
    I can across your web page on the internet and I hope you can give me the answer i need.
    let me go straight to the point.
    My name is Collins from NIGERIA, I live in Germany for more than 5 years now. and i have a daughter of about 6 years of age from a GHANIA mother. both of us have equal right to our daughter both we are not married but did sighed a document that we both shares equal right.
    2010 we both did a Nigerian passport for our daughter and i remember the mother has to sigh a letter of consent before it was done by the Nigeria embassy in Berlin.
    but after some years of disagreements most times at home my ex told me to remove my address from our home . so i did .
    last month i saw a new passport with her but it was not the Nigerian passport but a GHANIAN passport with visa on it. i was surprised because I had no idea how she did it without my consent and why the man at the foreign office gave her the visa as well.
    is it possible for me to go and get a visa in the Nigeria passport as well as she would not share or give to me the new GHANA passport she secretly just did.
    I am helpless now i think because she stylishly made me to remove my address from our house.
    Can it be possible for her to do all this without my knowledge , without my signature , and the foreign office changed our kid nationality from NIGERIA to GHANIA without my consent too.

  26. Kristen says:

    Great article; thank you for posting! I am an American mom living in the US and my ex-husband is German, living in Germany since our divorce 3 yrs ago. We have a 5 yr old daughter. Through US courts, I have sole legal custody and he has up to 50 nights visitation/year, and it says he must keep her in Colorado. In 3.5 yrs, by his choice, he has had her 8 overnights and has not seen her in over 2.5 years. He has gone up to 7 months at a time with absolutely no contact. He has not paid support in 2 years and he will not communicate with me. My daughter and I are still very friendly with his big family in Germany. They miss my daughter and I’ve decided to take her to see them in November for one week. Given her young age, and lack of relationship with him, although I will support him seeing her if he wishes, I do not feel comfortable letting her go with him during the day or for an overnight, without me there. My question: is it possible for him to force me to let him take our daughter out of my presence during the trip? What are his rights when we are in Germany? We have never signed any of the German custody agreements you mention in your article. I welcome your advice on anything I could/should do to prevent a sticky situation during our trip. Thank you in advance!

    • Because you will be in Germany on holiday, Colorado will retain jurisdiction. Due to your short trip to Germany and your lack of intent to settle there, your ex-husband could not apply to the German courts for any kind of contact or visitation order.
      You are therefore quite safe. If he makes any demands during your trip, you can point to the court order specifying that contact must take place in the state of Colorado.
      Have a good trip!

      • Kristen says:

        Thank you SO much for the quick reply. I really appreciate the information and peace of mind it gives me. I’ll take my court papers with me, just in case. vielen Dank!

  27. Heather Sprague says:

    My husband and I are US citizens, have been living in Germany since 2008. My stepdaughter joined us in 2011, with her mother’s consent. The current legal document from the States says they share joint legal custody, and my husband has physical custody. At this time, my stepdaughter is having trouble psychologically, and has been under care in Germany for 2+ years. She just moved into a Wohngruppe. Unfortunately, her mother is now being uncooperative in legal matters- such as not signing the paperwork to renew the American passport. Our Jugendamt caseworker said she would let my Husband try to handle it, but then said it may need to go to court for my husband to get sole custody. Can you explain how/if that is possible? Can a German court grant custody of an American citizen to her Father while mother is overseas? (She never lived in Germany)

    • Yes, the German court has jurisdiction because the child in question has been a resident for Germany since 2011. Jurisdiction in child custody matters follows the child and is irrelevant of the citizenship of the child involved or the parents’ residence.

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