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.

Before asking a new question, please read through the comments which may already answer your questions. And do you see the “Donate” button on the top right of your screen? If you find these FAQ useful or if you ask a new question, it would be very nice if you make use of it. Thank you!

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

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a journalist, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Family Law, German Law, Germany, Law and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

271 Responses to 10 FAQ on child custody law in Germany

  1. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on OyiaBrown.

  2. 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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  5. 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.

  6. 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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  11. 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!

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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 ?

  15. Nick wride says:

    My apologies this refers to three children.

  16. 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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  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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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  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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

      • Philiane says:

        Dear Andreas,

        My situation is similar to Lilly’s. I am a UK citizen and my partner is Austrian, we both live in Germany. If we split up I would definitely want to leave Germany with the baby. He is a great person, kind and supportive when sobber, but also one that from time to time is verbally abusive to me when he is drunk (this happens every 3 months on average). Based on what you said, I will not marry him next year as we planned. My question is, if in the future I decide to end the relationship and leave with the baby, could he file for joint or shared custody and prevent me from leaving the country with the baby? Would he still have to support the baby financially even if I have sole custody? My line of work means that I would live in Asian countries for an averge of two years and then move to the next. Could that go against me? I would want him to be in the baby’s life, perhaps spend the holidays together, it is not my wish to make things difficult.

      • As long as you have sole custody, you can always leave. If your partner will file for joint custody, you would be notified of that before it is awarded, so you could still leave in the meantime.

        Child support does not depend on custody. I don’t want to get into the issue of child support too much because we already have plenty of questions on child custody here. As soon as someone mails me one of the books from my wishlist to motivate me, I will set up a separate list of FAQ on child support.

    • Philiane says:

      Thank you Andreas, I will contact you now directly regarding your wishlist :)

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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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  30. Heidi Rudolph Imani says:

    Dear Moser, I need your help please I’ve been in a relationship with a Germany man for 8years. Though he was married. He agreed to support me with my two boys . sometimes last year I got pregnant wirh his daughter who is one year he wanted I abort I refused its not in my culture he didn’t think of what would happen to my kids incase I die doing abortion! ! he is not supporting me in anyway I stay in kenya he leaves in Germany with the wife can I sue him to get child support or can the government help me trace him ? I’ve his home address and he use to work for a firm called neoplan.i care about is the future of my daughter. And in any case if the wife gets know what will happen to my daughter? Is there a law in germany that protects my daughter? Thanks for your help and hope to hear from you.
    Patricia

    • Because this question is about child support, not child custody, I would like to keep it separate from this thread. I will put up a list of FAQ on child support as soon as somebody mails me a book from my wishlist in order to do so.

  31. guy edney says:

    Dear Andreas,
    My wife and I are getting divorced after nearly 10 years of marriage. We were married in Germany but lived in the UK (as I am a UK citiizen) but she has applied for the divorce in Germany and because we have been separated for more than a year I know there is nothing I can do to stop this process. I am to be in court on the 1st July to agree child maintenance but I have also had a letter from the court to say that I am liable for the court costs (nearly £4000). Can I contest this as I have not instigated the divorce and I would have chosen not to go to court had the option been available to me. If not, as I am employed but on a low income in the UK can I claim legal aid in Germany? If so what is the maximum salary I can earn and be entitled to legal aid in Germany?
    Many thanks for your help.
    Guy

    • That sounds like a large bill, so I’d prefer to take a look at it before saying anything definitive.
      And yes, you can apply for legal aid even though you don’t reside in Germany and are not German yourself. The German legal aid application will take into account your housing expenses, debts you are paying, child support and so on, so it’s not only based on your salary. I have actually long wanted to put up a similar list of FAQ on legal aid, I am just waiting for someone to mail me a book from my wishlist in order to push this to the top of my agenda.

      • Nick says:

        Dear Andreas , I am now provoked . I shall buy a book from your list on your promise to write something practical for us on legal aid in Germany .

      • Thank you very much! When you mail it off, just send me an e-mail, so that I know whom it will be coming from and what for. Then I’ll put up the FAQ on legal aid in Germany.

      • guy edney says:

        Many thanks for your prompt reply. Do I need to apply before the court hearing or can I do it on the day when I am at the court?
        Thanks again.
        Guy

      • You need to do that before and you should do it way before because you will need to submit lots of documents. Also, if you apply in due time, legal aid will cover your travel expenses.

      • Nicholas Wride says:

        Where do,I find your book list .

        Nicholas Wride 07950 252508

      • At the very top of this page, where it says “Books: My Wishlist”. My address is at the bottom of that list. Thank you very much already!

  32. guy edney says:

    Hi Andreas,

    Many thanks again for your advice. I have written to the court today to advise and asking them to tell me what to bring to the hearing. Hopefully they will at least consider the situation. The actual figure is 3400 Euros (not pounds that was my fault!) but I presume this covers the cost of translating documents and providing a translator etc at the hearing. However, they have said I have to pay the whole amount which seems a little unfair as my wife is the applicant! Is that normal or should my wife be expected to pay something?

    Guy

    • As I said, I can’t comment on that without seeing the document. I’ll be happy to help on that account and with your legal aid application, but then I do charge 200 € for such a consultation, so you’ll have to decide whether it is worth paying this in order to potentially save a lot more later.

  33. Ashish Chandwani says:

    Hi
    In my case, me and my wife are still legally married and there is no custody case going on. Currently both the mother and child are in Munich but I want to get myvchild back. Do I require any sort of NOC for my 5 year old daughter to travel out of Munich if I wish to bring her back.
    please advise

    thanks

  34. Nandani says:

    Hi Andreas

    i am a Indian woman.i have married with a Netherland national Indian man since 5 years, and since 4 years i live in germany with husband and the Goverment give to me 5 years visa . but our relationship is not going good, And my Husband is always fighting with me. i have 2 childernt ( 1 years old and 4 years old )now my husband ask me to go back to Idain without childs and he said because the child has Netherland nationality, And what the german court will get decide about the custody to him not me.And Our financial situation is not good ,please tell me , just because that i dont have Netherland nationality will i lost my childs.

    • Your husband is completely wrong.

      The citizenship of your children and of the parents is of no relevance in a child custody dispute. Any custody decision would consider who has more time to take care of the children and who is better able to care for the children.
      You might also keep shared custody and just split up as a couple. If the fights between you and him don’t concern major issues of raising your children, there is no need to drag the children into the legal quarrels. You can separate as husband and wife, but you will still both remain responsible parents. That’s the ideal way.

  35. bob says:

    Hallo Andreas,
    I just have a question me and wife came to germany with our 7 years daughter and we are still waiting the decision wether we will allowed to stay in germany or no, for almost a year we have a Duldung in our passport.But my wife take a child and hide with her to the womens shelter, and i have no contact,and she dont want to contact me, she thought that when decision came negative i will be deported alone, so what can i do to have access to my child? there is any law give me the right to proceed or according to my status i can not do anything? please help me with this.

    • In German family law, your immigration status is of no relevance. Because you have been in Germany for almost a year, the Family Court would consider you as residents and would apply German law.

      You therefore have the same rights as anyone else to have regular contact with your child. Because you are married, you have shared custody, meaning that you also have the same legal rights as your wife.

      In order to enforce your rights, you can either try to get some mediation started through the Youth Welfare Office (“Jugendamt”) or of course hire a lawyer and go to the Family Court.

      • bob says:

        Dear Andreas
        Thank you for your advice, how long should i wait before going to Jugendamt aftre she leave with a child? And i must have a lawyer to present me to the Jugendamt?

      • You don’t need any lawyer for that. And I don’t think you have to wait at all. You and your wife have shared custody, that means that she cannot legally make the decision where your child lives by herself (just as you couldn’t make it by yourself). Her making that unilateral decision and thus preventing the contact between you and your child was wrong and violates both your and your child’s rights. It should be rectified as soon as possible, for otherwise everyone might get used to that situation.

  36. Brian Hannon says:

    Hello Andreas,
    Thanks for all the great information. Can I petition the family court for joint visitation if I am not a Germany citizen? My daughter and her mother are both German citizens but I am an US soldier stationed abroad. Thank you

  37. Jen says:

    Hi Andreas,

    I need an honest opinion. I married a German and moved to Germany in 2007. I have been a wife and mommy for 7 years. Unfortunately, I married a man who is extremely passive-aggressive and the marriage has not been happy despite 3 beautiful children. I applied for divorce last year. My husbands response was to take Paternity Leave from his job for the past year and a half to try to ‘out-mommy’ and manipulate the situation. He is fighting me for custody because he refuses to pay alimony or child-support. Knowing that it’s sometimes tough for me to acclimate, he tries to control school/kindergarten/and other situations. I am getting really anxious. I gave up everything for my children and he is trying to destroy me. What do you advise?

  38. Jen says:

    Sorry. Wanted to add something. My son is 3 years old. Under what circumstances would they grant him custody?

    • All custody cases are really different from each other, so this is something that we would need to speak about in detail. I would also like to take a look at the papers that have already been filed.
      I charge 200 EUR for such a consultation.

  39. Houda says:

    What if the mother is trying to take full custody . Is it true that someone else stranger will take the other 50/ of the child custody .

  40. Houda says:

    Ok ok can a mother take a full custody of kids in german

    • The court can award full custody to a mother, yes. (If she doesn’t already have full custody from the time the child was born.)

    • Houda says:

      I’m sorry if I’m bothering you put the whole story is that my best friend is trying to get divorce and she want to take a full custody of her 4 & 6 years old boys . There is an officer that’s involved between because my friend don’t talk to her husband so many problems . She told her that if he lose the custody of the kids still someone ales just anyone will the other person to have the other 50% custody of the kids . And she said there is no way that she gets the kids custody even though kids have been abused a lot .

      • Houda says:

        I am sorry again to bother you I am adding this is in Germany my best friend lives there

      • I hope it would be in Germany because this whole page is about German law. I am a German lawyer, after all.

      • I really couldn’t predict what would happen in a specific case unless I hear the whole story from one of the involved parents. Your friend is welcome to contact me herself and we can set up a telephonic consultation for only 200 EUR.

  41. Houda says:

    Ok I will tell her . Do you want to give me your information

  42. Houda says:

    Ok thank you

  43. Vetteboy says:

    Great site! Have a quick question. Wife and I are Army Civilians (GS), I am the sponsor. Divorce is coming although we have yet to separate and still live together. She’s making statements about quitting her job and taking the two children back to the States. Can I file anything in German Court to stop her from leaving with the kids back to the States? I currently hold the kids passports and don’t plan on giving them up, can she force me to?

    • First of all, if she really did so, she would commit an international child abduction and you could then ask a state court in the US to order the return of your children.
      Because it is clearly an illegal act, you cannot obtain a court order telling your wife not to commit it. (It would be like asking a court to issue a court order to tell someone not to commit other crimes.)

      If you can prove that she made these threats, that may be enough to obtain a temporary court order for physical custody in Germany, although as long as you still live in the same house, physical custody of course doesn’t change much.

      If she wanted to force you to give up the passports, she would need to go to court herself. It might however be more likely that she would go to the US Consulate in Germany and apply for new ones. You might want to inform them of the situation, so that they won’t become unwilling accomplices.

      • Vetteboy says:

        Great thanks for the info! A quick check of the US State Dept website and both parents are needed sign the application for passports. They also have a program you can sign up for that will alert you if someone tries to obtain passports for your kids.

  44. bob says:

    Hallo Andreas, as I Tod you before about my wife ran with my child to women’s shelter,and told them that Iam abusing her and child which is not true. So Iam prepared to go to court and I have some medical report for my wife which says that my wife suffered a post traumatic disoder even written that there is risk of commiting sucide, you think is it a good idea to present these documents to the court? I will appreciate your advice.

    Bob

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  46. sherry says:

    If a parent petition for full custody and says that the ex’s family love that person more than they do they’re own family member trying to prove the person is not a good person can that stand up in court? And if that persons family says they still welcome the x as family and always loved them would that hurt their case to keep custody of the child even though there willing to maintain shared custody?

  47. Good morning Mr Moser,

    I am a US Army Soldier that was married to a German. We both moved back to the United States and she ended up leaving taking our daughter back to Germany. She got the divorce and remarried before I even new about it (we were seperated two years). After almost 10 years she has finally cooperated and child support is starting. What are my rights to my daughter since Im in the US and she is in Germany? I have not seen her in seven years because the mother is good at hiding.

  48. Brian Huijgens says:

    Hi Andreas,
    My Ex wife moved to the United States with her new husband and took our son with her (I gave permission for this).
    Since she has De Registered both him and her daughter (With her new husband) she is trying to claim Child Support (Unterhalt) + half of the German Kindergeld (Euro 184/2 = Euro 92), which she says she is not getting anymore.
    Since she AND my son no longer live in Germany and will be getting a US Visa soon do I still HAVE to pay both Unterhalt AND half of the German Kindergeld?

  49. John Koomson says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I am the biological Father of a child i brought into marriage with a German.
    We have an ADOPTATION ORDER – Childrens Act 560,1998 from the High court in Ghana, giving us full custody of my own child since, we want for her to join us in Germany soon.
    We intend to formalize same here in Germany, so my wife and i, would have have a joint custody for her.
    How recognizable is the ADOPTATION ORDER from Ghana here in Germany, or perhaps we will have to start the process all over, where my wife would have to formally adopt her here.

  50. Vitali says:

    Hello Andreas,

    A little about myself:
    1. My name is Vitali, I am German
    2. I am 27 years old
    3. I am Married and I have 2 children.
    4. I live in USA for 3 years

    A little about my ex:
    1. She does drugs ( I have evidence )
    2. She sleeps around ( I have witnesses )
    3. She is mentally and Physically abusive towards our daughter ( I have witnesses )
    4. She is Mentally unbalanced ( I have prove from lawyer that she is started beating and scratching my car. She had to pay me to get the car fixed )
    5. She steals money from her boss’s safe..

    I have a child with my ex in Germany. My daughter is 6 years…
    Last time I have seen her in person was in 2011. My ex and I were never married.
    I spoke to my daughter once through Skype in January 2014.
    Since then my ex wouldn’t let me have contact with my daughter.
    I pay child support, but don’t get to see or speak with my daughter.
    I currently field for Umgangsrecht and Gemeinsames Sorgerecht to family court in Germany.
    Since I haven’t seen my daughter in so long, can judge deny my petition?
    I wanted to know what are my chances to get custody of my daughter?

  51. Tiff says:

    Hi Andreas,

    I am divorced and have a full custody of my german kid. Me and my current partner are going to married soon, and he is willing to adopt my kid as an adopted father. How is the procedure and the german law about the adoption? Should let the biological father of the my kid know about it? Should get the permission from the biological father as well?

    • Of course. You cannot adopt a child away from one of its parents without that parent’s consent. Only in very extreme circumstances could a Family Court replace that consent.

      I will publish a separate set of FAQ on adoption once someone will mail me one of the books from my wishlist for doing so.

      • Tiff says:

        Thanks. The biological father has mental sickness and drug addict, and many years under a psychiatric.Will this consider an extreme circumstances which required a Family Court/Jugendamt to replace that consent? Futhermore, how is the procedure for the adoption?
        Thanks for the valuable info!

      • All of this will be explained in my FAQ on adoption.

  52. Marc Peterson says:

    To whom it may Concern , My child presently has been living in Germany for 5 years, I have tried my best to stay in Contact with my daughter thru email, her Mother has always Controlled our relationship and how we have Contact, I went to family today to file petition and they tell me I can’t she’s in Germany, I don’t understand, they take 150 out my check biweekly, Why are my rights being violated

    • If the child is in Germany, only the German Family Court has jurisdiction over custody, contact and visitation.

      As soon as someone mails me a book from my wishlist, I will set up a separate FAQ on child contact and visitation in Germany.

  53. Christa Gallup says:

    My son was in the army station in Germany when he married a American girl.they have a little girl now and he is back in the States she remained in Germany with the girl she filed for divorce and custody he can’t afford a lawyer she is trying to pull a fast one on him he was told he needs to get a German lawyer to fight for him please any advice or help would be appreciated.

  54. Rich says:

    Hello Andreas,
    I am an American citizen, my ex wife is German. We are currently going through a divorce here in America. She has made it perfectly clear that she will not let me take my son to America or even out of her yard during my visitation. The court here in Michigan has put in our visitation agreement that I will get him here in American during summer vacation for a month. What will I need to do to get her to follow the American court order?

    • If the child is in Germany, you will need to obtain a German court order. I don’t see why the court in Michigan would even deal with it, they (should) know it’s not enforceable outside of the US. If your lawyers in Michigan didn’t tell you that, then I’d get really angry.

      On a substantive matter, German law would usually allow you to have visitation at your place of residence and there is no need for supervision. When you have visitation, you decide what you do with your son and it’s none of the mother’s business (just like you can’t interfere with her daily routine when the son stays with her).
      Unfortunately, it often requires a court order for women to understand that.

  55. Michael O'leary says:

    Dear Andreas, Me and my German girl friend after a long relationship decided to have a child of which we where blessed with in 2011 which makes her 3years old now. She was born in Switzerland and resides in Germany with her mum.
    When she was born we registered her name which she holds my surname and we both registered has her parents in germany where we all lived together.
    I decide to spend most of the 3years with them both, in this time I had very close bond with my daughter.
    Me and her mum have just parted and I have had to returned to the UK for work reasons.
    Sorry I did not mention, I am British.
    Her mum is now refusing any contact ie skype or telephone, and I am not sure she will let me see her in person also.

    (1) These documents I signed at the council? did this give me any rights?.
    Could you please help?, what would be the best thing to do now.

    Kind regards
    Michael.

    • If you signed a joint custody declaration (“gemeinsame Sorgeerklärung”), then you have shared/joint custody.

      But even if not, you do of course have parental rights for visitation and regular contact. These rights can (almost) never be taken away, regardless of whether you have custody or not.

      I’ll keep this brief because I still want to set up a separate list of FAQ on contact and visitation, but I would normally recommend to contact the Jugendamt (the German equivalent of CAFCASS) first and ask them to mediate. I wouldn’t expect too much from them because they don’t have an enforcement mechanism, so if your ex-partner refuses, they cannot force her to do anything.
      The second step would be to file a petition with the Family Court in Germany.

      I would be happy to discuss all the details over the phone, but I do charge 200 EUR for a consultation.

  56. Paul Dalziel-Walker says:

    Hi Andreas.

    I have looked through the Q&A that you have done and I can’t find the right answer to my question, so I wonder if you could help me please..

    My ex wife and I divorced some 14 years ago after a 5 year married life in Germany. I was in the British army at the time. We had a baby girl who I don’t get to see and haven’t seen for 8 years despite going to Germany at great cost and my ex refuses to let me see her.. We have 50/50 custody from the courts years ago at the time we divorced.. Now my daughter is 18 this August and my ex has always gone on about more money when ever she makes contact. Which isn’t often. By my own admission I’ve given up hope of seeing her again.. Due to the mess my ex has put her through over the years.. I see the odd pictures now and again from Facebook but there is no contact from my daughter.. My conclusion is that my ex has bad mouthed me over the years..
    My question is do I have the right to demand to see her when I go to Germany..? And after she is 18 she is no longer classed as a child so does child maintenance rules still apply.. What if she goes to college?

    Many thanks for your time.

    Paul.

    • Hello Paul,

      I’ll just answer briefly because both contact/visitation and child support will be the subject of separate FAQs which I plan to put up in the future.

      As long as your daughter is not yet 18, you do of course have the right to have contact. However, if your daughter refuses (as you assume, most likely under the influence of the mother), it’s not worth going to court over it because she will turn 18 by the time the court will decide.
      Once your daughter will turn 18, child contact/visitation laws no longer apply. There is no longer any right to contact.

      Regarding child support, it doesn’t stop once your daughter turns 18. German law provides child support until the child has completed an education enabling her to find work (that may well include university). However, once your daughter turns 18, she will have to deal with you directly (or through lawyers or appoint her mother as representative) and once she moves out, both you and the mother will be liable to pay child support.
      More details in the FAQ on child support to come.

  57. michelle says:

    My son is in the army he was based in germany but now they have moved the forces bk to the UK, leaving his girlfriend with her family out there with his sons, on moving bk to UK his wage is lower and we are trying to find out just how much maintance he would have to pay his wage after tax is £1600 monthly.

  58. Eric says:

    Hello Andreas,

    Me U.S and my ex Hungarian live in Germany and have a 2 year old and a 4 month old. We were never married and of course she got custody when we were living together. Now we are separated the last two months and I am going to apply for partial custody according to the new laws passed in 2013. She is refusing to sign the custody agreement so we have to go to court. She is also refusing to sing an application for a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport applications. She wants to control everything and exclude me from any action and make things as difficult as possible. She also is planning on getting a Hungarian passports and moving to a unknown location with my children without giving my any information. She is not working but gets assistance from the government. I provided all income since weve been together. as I pay child support currently. Both of my children have 100% health insurance and dental free from me were we currently live from my job here as well as life insurance for myself and both children from my job, as well as daycare and school systems. She wants to pack up and leave this area were everything is located for the children with no job, insurance, family or money or anything. WHAT Can I do when I go to court. Please any advice?

  59. Womenispiredblog says:

    I have learnt a lot from your write ups. We live in NRW AND MY 9 Year old son believes we are too strict for him and does not want to live at home again. Right now he is in a Kinderheim. Is it possible that he has a say in his life at this age?

    • Strictly speaking no. He is a minor and you as the parents can order him what to do.
      However, if he took you to court or you were to sue the Kinderheim or Jugendamt to get him back, the judge will of course give your son tge chance to voice his opinions. It depends on how he will present himself and whether he has good reasons for his wish. I would need to know much more about the background story to give you a proper assessment of the outcome of such a case.

  60. Sally says:

    Dear Andreas,
    My German partner and I (non-German) have a daughter born outside of Germany. We are not married but have shared custody. I have AUFENTHALSTITEL for 3.5 years and now I work in a different city in Germany from where he and my daughter live.
    How can I get my daughter to live with me without too much fight with him? He does not agree that I take her away. What should I prepare if we have to go to the court? My child’s health insurance is from me. He is self-employed and work from home. I want to work part-time and take care of my child. But he refuses to support me financially or any way, even though he signed at the German embassy as my guarantor.
    Thank you in advance for your help and advice.
    Sally

  61. zita says:

    Hi my daughter died and left daughter she is 5 years old I am grandmother, and I am a citizen of USA if a German court to give me her what rights could get in America green card and at the age of 16 years to keep driver’s license or she does not nothing thanks you.

  62. Jean says:

    Hi ,Iam jean from Kenya I got married to this german man 2013 in Kenya.Now he is saying he does not want the marriage and already dating other women.He threatens me saying he does need a divorce because he is living in Germany so he can marry again.please help me

  63. Monu says:

    Hi, I am from India (Non-European) living in Germany for last 3 years (with my wife & daughter[3 yrs] who was born in India). My question is – in case of accidental of both the parents while residing in Germany – how will the child be supported ? is there a declaration we need to sign & submit to govt and give a nominee who can support in such case ? kindly assist in this regard – Monu

  64. sherly mcintosh says:

    I’m a Jamaican was married to a German got divorced but did change my name yet because I didn’t get the papers until two days ago, that time I already apply for a USA visa do you think that will turn stop me from getting my visa

  65. Monika Walker says:

    Dear Mr. Moser,

    No idea where to start, but will be brief. Yesterday I had a court hearing in Berlin, and I feel like my concerns were completely ignored. I am African American US citizen, our son who is 2.5 years old shares dual citizenship, but was born in the US. My husband is German. He has been allowed to pick up an abandon us, change lock to shared apartment, not pay any support of any kind, his family allowed to use derogatory comments concerned our son´s race.

    None of these things were highlighted in the hearing or judgement, as a matter of fact, I had the impression it was very pro German. Every concerned I raised, the response was, the father has a right to visitation, which was not the question, and something I have never attempted to deny. The question was concerning if overnight visits should be allowed sooner vs. later. We have had problems with overnight visits, where our son has cried, and one time I had to pick him up because he did not want to stay with his father. All of this was simply ignored.

    I have no income, since I lost my job and moved to Germany to finance a business for my husband´s father on Insel Ruegen. The business failed after his father suddenly quit, and then a few months later, my husband left after an affair unbeknownst to me. I lost about 100K euros of my money. I proposed to leave Berlin since I can no longer live here and move with my sister, and this was rejected by my husband, and further the judge said it was not stable, but with no explanation as to why he deemed it to be unstable. I have been told, I should continue to apply for social benefits, and even though my lease ends in 2 weeks, no response or ideas were given as to what I should do. I lived in Hamburg in a shared apartment with my husband, and we had a house on Insel Ruegen for rent. It was even suggested I should consider moving back to Insel Ruegen, (the Jugendamt suggested this), eventhough this is my husband´s home town, and I have not friends or family or support there. I found it incredible how the Jugendamt questioned me, but had no questions for my husband.

    I have decided to contact US Consulate because I feel that my case if very biased in favor of the father who a German citizen. I feel like my concerns as a mother are being ignored, and that the child´s over mental physical health has not been a real consideration, only the convenience for the father and his right to visitation has been promoted.

    I would like to know, what you believe I should do. I plan to move to Kaiserslautern Germany where my sister has a stable life, she works for Department of Defense, and try to look for work and recover financially. Do you have any advice because I am really concern I am being set up to have my son taken away from me. By the way, when the judge mentioned my son has not had a stable life, and I said it was not my fault, he stated he basically was not trying to assign fault, that it was not important.

    Prior to moving to Germany two years ago to be with my husband, I lived in Brussels for 10 years and worked for large international organization. I have paid all costs including insurance coverage for our son. I only moved to Germany to set up family life here. I left Hamburg after pressure from my husband to leave our apartment, where he had changed locks at one point so I could not enter. I left Insel Ruegen because I was also asked to move out of house so it could be rerented, and I also did not feel comfortable there alone with no help or support. I moved to Berlin to look for work and build a stable life, but have been unable to find work. My husband was made aware in advance about each of these moves. I even have email where he agreed I could move to Wiesbaden area which is not far from KTown.

    Help.

    Thanks.

    • That’s a long question. I would need to charge my usual fee of 200 € to read it and answer all of your questions and provide legal and strategic advice.

  66. Monika Walker says:

    Andreas, I do not mind to pay a consultancy fee but I would like to have some kind of reassurance you have adequate advice and strategies that I can use to manage my current situation. Can you please forward and email to my private address to discuss further.

  67. Kasey says:

    I just wanted to say thank you so much for creating these pages and offering assistance for free. I met my husband in the USA when he was on a student visa. We were together 2 years and then we moved to Germany (he’s German). We got married 2 years after that and a year after that welcomed a baby boy. My whole world turned upside down when I found out my husband was having an affair. This whole new side of him emerged and I couldn’t believe the man I married. It was literally like the movie Enough with Jennifer Lopez. My once loving husband laid his hands on me and denied me the right to divorce claiming I have no rights here. Your website pushed me in the right direction and helped me form an escape plan. When my husband threatened to claim I adbucted our child I was ready with information I had gathered. Thank you for saving my life and the life of my baby. Tomorrow we are finally flying back home to the USA. God bless you!

    • Thank you very much!

      I hope you have the father’s permission, sole custody or a court order, for otherwise it would indeed be an international child abduction.

  68. Nick says:

    Dear Mr. Moser, Would like to get some legal advise regarding German laws linked to family issues (ex partner kidnapped the children from our place of residence several years ago) Where could you be reached ? and what are your fees.

  69. Nick says:

    Hi, I saw Monika Walker post and I must share from experience that German Judges are very often motivated to defend German national and not foreigners. My children have been kidnapped from our place of residence, the mom + children moved to Germany without me knowing about it. Declared the fact to the local police + launched a investigation per the Hague convention in our place of residence. During that time, not knowing my children (5 and 7 years old) whereabouts, I received a letter from the Jungenamdt asking me to pay child support. When asking the Jungenamdt for their place of residence + health status + school details, I never received a feed-back or any information’s. I was invited by an institution in Bonn to pay 1000 euros for some legal defense to review my children condition in front of a German court. This is wrong, legal actions where launched in our place of residence and not Germany. Never the less, I did go to German courts twice and despite Judge decision, never managed to get my children back. In 2012 while I was residing in the USA, the German mother wrote telling me to get the children back as the Jungenamdt was going to put them in a foster care home. Did hire a lawyer with huge cost to get my children back in the USA and than surprise, the German authorities got involved with lawyers showing in US court stating that US could not give me children custody since the children never resided in the USA. So much hope and money lost… I would just recommend, find a stable place of residence and a job ASAP before the Jungenamdt decides that you are not fit to raise your child and take him away from you. While questioning your mental health as a reason to retrieve your child. Look at youtube for Jungenamdt issues, note there is too many videos to show that all are fakes. Good luck Nick !

  70. neo says:

    I am a mother ,who has just lost sole custody of my son to my ex German partner.He was denied The custody at the family court…but won at the appealcourt. ..My son is 10 and I have been living with him in East Germany for the past 9 years…

  71. James says:

    My sons mum (never married) split the time with our son 50/50. I still pay half the Dusseldorf tabelle rate and she keeps the child allowance (She now lives with new guy). In addition i pay for his private school and extra reading lessons, english lessons etc. A prior lawyer told me that under 50/50 i am not obliged to pay any support is that true? To be honest i am simple fed up with her making digs that i dont support our Son and seeking money and just want to check if what i am doing is fair an reasonable or not.

  72. David says:

    When we divorce will I automaticly got joint custody of our boy even though I live in I
    England and she in germany

  73. mfarrar57 says:

    Hello, I was born and raced in Germany! With 19 I left my country and moved to the Midwest where my aunt resided. I than met my husband a American citizen after 4 children I became a citizen in 1983! I got divorced in 2010 and remarried to my first love who is German as well, we live and bought a house in Illinois ! Is it possible to have dual citizenship for me? I still have my German passport ! I don’t remember if they ask me if I wZnted dual it’s been long ago! However we want to live in geany 6 months and 6 months in Illinois ! We are 64 and 68 please let me know

  74. pushpa rao says:

    I am unemployed woman and married to an abusive man, living in Germany. What should be my first step in applying for a divorce? we have 2 children, aged 13 and 16. Please advise. We are foreigners living in Germany since November 2013. How will i afford a lawyer? I am financially dependent on my husband and have no money of my own. Help !!

  75. John Buckle says:

    I am a 66 year old retired englishman .. and I had an affair with a Austian lady , we never lived together , nor got married

    We have a 4 year old daughter living with her mother in Vienna

    I have fully supported them to the tune of about €600,000 which included buying the mother an apartment

    We now have a lot of problems including access to see my daughter

    Mother does work I think part time , as a lawyer for the Austrian goverment . But refuses to discuss her salary

    What is the child support that I would legally have to pay in Austria under these conditions

    Regards. John Buckle

  76. Debra Guerrero says:

    If a person is in the military and wages are being garnished for child support and the parent paying child support gets out of the military, does he still have to pay child support? He is in Germany

  77. Krish says:

    I am coming from No-EU region, my husband started working for last 6 months only, whom I support for past 7 years. If I take sole custody, will my husband support my kid. If I leave Germany, do I need to get permission reagding my kid from his father. What about joint custody, if I want to leave Germany and settle my home country, do I need to get permission from him? please clarify. What kind of support does my kid get? Rent, monthly expenses?

    • That’s a lot of questions, for which I would need to know more (which country you are from, which country your husband is from, what jobs and qualifications you both have, where you live, your income and so on).
      It probably makes sense to book a telephonic appointment with me, for which I charge 200 EUR.

  78. Clarence says:

    This blog was very helpful to my situation Thanks Andreas :)). If there is is anyway you can give more information on how maintenance payments work for spouses separating, while both of us have shared custody. Am I untitled to pay maintenance?

    • Maintenance and child support depend on so many financial and other factors that it’s impossible to say yes or no to this question. I hope to find the time to put up FAQ on child support one day.

  79. Romi says:

    Hello,
    Iam in a big mess and want advice, Iam an Indian married citizen & had unfortunately slept with a german married women & she is pregnant, she is not sure if it is from me or her husband & now Iam scared what if the child is mine? Can she drag me to court for that ? Can I be penealised for that ? What are the circumstances ? If she goes to the court, do I have to go to Germany for the hearings ? Even after me saying that abort the child she insisted & was blackmailing me that if it is mine I would hear from her lawyer. Please advice what to be done ? She is not ready to talk & her husband is unemployed so I think they Wld try rip me apart financially

    • These are a LOT of questions. In this case, I would appreciate a donation (see the button on the top right) before I devote quite some time to answer them.
      Thank you!

  80. Ren says:

    Im a U.S. wife to a U.S. soldier stationed in Germany in 2014. We have a daughter whom stayed back in the states with her grandmother to finish her school year when we moved here. She was 16 at the time. She finished her school year and met a 20 year old man whom she ended up getting pregnant by. She moved back home with us in Germany when she was 36 weeks pregnant and he came with her to stay for the birth of the child and they were going to stay together and eventually get married. Then the baby was born and it wasn’t exactly what he thought it was going to be. We became financially responsible for all 3 of them and we added the baby to our health insurance. Then we went to get the father added to the baby’s birth certificate but couldn’t because she’s 17 now and she still requires both parents signatures in order to add his name to the document and her father was out of the country at the time and we were told to come back when we both could sign. The responsibility proved to be way more than he wanted and he has since moved back to the states with his parents before his name was added to the birth certificate. She’s still in high school and our responsibility and we are providing for both her and the baby fully. Now he is contacting her and making threats to take her to court to take the baby from her saying he contacted stateside lawyers who said that he would be awarded custody because she is too young, uneducated, unemployed, and unfit to have custody. She, as well as my husband and I, are not really sure what the custody laws and rights are for our grandson since he is actually a German citizen and we all are not.

    • Citizenship and names on birth certificates are irrelevant for child custody. If the parents were married at the time of birth, they both have shared custody.
      If the child is in Germany now, only the German courts have jurisdiction. If there was a custody dispute, they would decide based on who has been taking care of the child so far and if that parent is suitable.

  81. JC says:

    Facts:
    Father is American.
    Mother is German.
    Baby is 3 months old.
    Mother is not working and has 2 children from previous marriage.
    Father is self employed.
    Couple is not married.
    Who would most likely be granted custody? What if the father had to return to the US?

    • If the couple aren’t married and haven’t signed a joint custody declaration, the mother has sole custody. If the mother doesn’t agree to change that, the father would need to file for joint custody.

      If one parent moves to another continent, it’s hard for him to get sole custody because it would mean that the child would in effect be removed from the other parent. This argument is particularly strong if the father doesn’t “have to” move to the US, but merely “wants to”.

      • JC says:

        The couple did sign a joint custody declaration.

        The father has to return to the States to care for his elderly mother.

        Would the courts not favor the father because he doesn’t already have 2 children to care for?

      • No, that’s not how it works. Custody law is not a mathematical formula or an equal distribution of children. It depends very much on both your personal circumstances, how you care for the child, the emotional ties, and so on. It would be very hard to receive the court’s permission to move your child to the US in such a case.

      • JC says:

        I wasn’t alluding to the equal distribution of children. I was referring to the father being able to provide better financially for the child. Whereas the mother would have more difficulty taken the other 2 children into consideration.

      • Financial considerations are completely irrelevant in child custody cases. That’s what child support (and possibly alimony, even if you aren’t married) are for.

  82. Frank says:

    Hello my dear friends,

    I need a serious help and law support.
    Following situation :

    My daughter (German citizen) lives in Kenya with her mother. Always I have sent money 500 $ each month for school or anything else needed. Now I have found out that it never benefited our daughter. Additional the mother takes our daughter to her Grandma in Thiga and put her there in custody and village school. The past 2 months I didn’t get contact to the mother of the child. I was cable of to discover the number of her grandma because I called police in Nairobi /Thiga. No one knows what happen to the mother. Now I wish to take my daughter to Germany since I discovered that the mother of my child is not able to take care of our daughter. What rights do I have and should I go ahead? Any legal advice is welcome.

    • Because your daughter lives in Kenya, that’s really a question of Kenyan law (of which I have no idea, unfortunately).

      • Sonia says:

        Please I’m a Nigerian married to a German and my husband sent me and our 2girls kids to Germany to study in order to get the citizenship and after a year sent me a divorce letter and now he’s asking me to give my kids away to his family and I’m not working who has more rights with the kids? And he’s working in Africa and I took care of out kids my whole life my kids don’t recognize his family what should I do.

      • That’s such a complicated situation that we would need to schedule a full consultation, for which I charge 200 EUR.

      • Sonia says:

        And he has an illegal with and child over there in Nigeria and refuses to take care I don’t work I only school what do I do

  83. Christine says:

    Hi Andreas,
    could you help with what I imagine is a pretty common problem-?
    I`m an new zealand woman with a 1.5year old son born in germany to a german man. The son has a nz and german passport. I`ve lived here approx 7 years. 6 weeks after the birth the father kicked us out of the family flat but took the opportunity to escape the situation himself so me and baby remained in his flat where I contribute to rent. He is a rich and emotionally abusive person who panicked at the idea of fatherhood at the age of 50. Since this time I`ve raised the child alone although the father would make an appearance once a week for a few hours. I don`t have family here or a large freundeskreis so I`ve been very isolated. He admitted last week he`s in a full blown relationship and that he was already dating 2 weeks after the break up. I believe he`s been on holidays with this woman and spends time with her kid. This woman is almost 20 years his junior. I`ve decided I want to go back home to my family for the sake of my son, and myself. My family have flown accross continents to help me here in germany, where as none of his family have offered help. My son has been at Kita for approx 3 months and has already been to visit my family for 5 weeks + in the uk and australia. My ex says he wants to now apply for joint sorgerecht (we both signed the document agreeing I would have sole custody after the birth).
    He is a nasty man but I cannot prove anything. And on the other hand, it is on record that I`ve been in a psych ward for a month (due to his abominable behaviour throughout my pregnancy. Again, something I can`t prove). He has also been financially very generous in terms of child maintenance.
    Are all the cards stacked against me? I`m afraid the courts would think his involvement in the child`s life would NOT be a disadvantage. I don`t want to be hauled up for child abduction when I leave, but the father is a charming narcissistic sociopath.
    Legal Aid tells me no court would forbid a mother of a baby from moving to where her family is. Is that true? Does 18 months still count as being a baby??
    Thanks very much for your advice!!

    • I wonder what kind of document you signed because no such document is necessary for sole custody if you haven’t been married.
      And I also wonder who that Legal Aid is because they sure don’t sound like experienced lawyers in international family law.

      I recommend my FAQ on international child abduction or of course a full consultation, for which I charge 200 EUR.

  84. Henry Owusu Agyemang Sencherey says:

    Please want to know the procedure to take to integrate with my daughter by name,Priscilla Owusu Nyamekye.she’s 8years old and currently living with the mother Janet Frimpong Dawu in frankfurt. I am a resident of Spain.please help. Thanks

    • Cases about child visitation/contact always depend so much on the specific circumstances that I cannot answer it it general. In this case, we would need to set up a telephonic consultation, for which I charge 200 EUR.

  85. Dan says:

    Hi ,

    I am paying an agreed amount of maintenance for my son in Germany but the lady I pay through is now insisting I get a maintenance document signed st the Germsn Embassy. This is not easy as I cannot take time off work or afford train fares. She says I will have to go to court if I don’t do this , I’d this true?

    Thanks

    Dan

    • Because this is a question on child support rather than on child custody, it will have to wait until I have put up my FAQ on German child support laws. Of course I will answer it before once you make a donation through the Paypal button on the top right of this page.

  86. Hasan says:

    Dear Mr. Moser,

    Thanks for the nice article. I have a specific question (hope you can answer) but let me tell you in brief about my situation:

    I am a student studying in Germany and I had a relation with a German girl which didn’t work. It lasted for a year and after that I got married with another girl from my country (India) and she also came here in Germany to study. But when my first girlfriend found about my marriage, she got crazy and her old love for me suddenly turned on. After so many tries, she managed to have physical relation with me but she also got pregnant (which I am sure that she did it intentionally). Now the fact is that my student visa is going to end soon and I have to leave the country when its over. So my question is, am I eligible to get a permanent residence permit because of being father of a German child (may be after some years of temporary residency)? Do I also have to sign any document to get shared custody?

    You answered more that hundreds of questions here, I really am wishing that my question will also get your answer!

  87. guglielmo sacchini says:

    I am the biological father of a three years old boy. the mother who is not the biological mother took him from Belgium where he was born to Germany where she met another man.
    what are my chances to get custody of my son?
    thank you

    • Obviously, the chances depend on a lot of circumstances. Child custody cases are not decided by a mathematical formula.
      I would also need to know what legal paternity and maternity exist, who had custody in Belgium and where you live. And then of course the whole background of the situation, your relationship to your son, the mother’s relationship to your son, the role of the biological mother, and so on.

      This would really require a personal consultation, for which I charge 200 EUR. Please send me an e-mail with more details at moser@moser-law.com and then we can ste up a consultation over Skype.

  88. M says:

    I am a US citizen living in California and I am pregnant. The father of my unborn child is a German citizen living in Germany. He does not wanna have anything to do with the baby. Can I file for child support in these circumstances ?

  89. Claudia Espinoza says:

    Hi Andres,
    My husband has a son ( 6 year old) in germany but he never married the boy’s mother and when the boy was born she told him not to have his last name because in Germany single mothers get money from the goverment so he listened to her , she lied to the goverment saying that the father left her and doesn’t know where he is which at that time they were living together… They got separated a year after he was born and she doesn’t let him see his son. Can he do anything about the son having his last name and if so could we do it here from the USA or do we need to go to germany? She told him that because they never got married he can not have any legal rights even if he take a DNA test to prove that is he’s son.

    • If paternity is established (through acknowledgement or a DNA test), then the father has a right to contact with his son, of course. It doesn’t matter that the parents were never married.

      However, he won’t have custody rights (for that he would need to sue), so the name is decided by the mother as the sole custodial parent. I also find it weird how important a child’s last name is for some parents. Obviously, the child has two parents. If the father chooses his name, the mother’s last name gets dropped. Why would anyone think that they have the more important name than the other one? And it’s just a name.

      I’d rather focus on regular contact with the child. That’s much more important for both son and father.

  90. Jack says:

    I pay maintenance for my child in Germany and also for a child in England. The amount paid to Germany is agreed by my ex-wife and has remained the same for years – despite my wages reducing drastically. I unfortunately am really struggling to keep up this high payment without it effecting the money I can afford to pay to my child in England. Up until know I have maintained the same payment to Germany even when I have had periods of no income. However, I am now really struggling to finance both children and would like to know what I am expected to legally pay to each child.
    My ex-wife told me once that German authorities don’t take into account the fact that I also pay for a child in England – so I am therefore paying the amount as if I only have one child to support. Surely there must be a way to work out a total percentage of my income that must be divided equally between both children, regardless of where they live?
    I want to support both children, but if things continue as they are, I might have to consider filing for bankruptcy. Can a country really refuse to accept that a child of different nationality is also being paid for?
    Is there a set percentage of my income to be paid per child? Until what age must I pay this?

    I am really reluctant to contact German authorities as several years ago I received a letter from them saying that my ex-wife had said I had never paid maintainence and demanding tens of thousands of Euros! I could prove she was lying as I have kept (most of!) my bank statements and maintenance receipts over the years but consequently stopped all contact with her and my daughter, other than monthly bank transfers.

    • There are a lot of good questions and I will answer them once I set up a separate list of FAQ on child support. I will do this as soon as someone mails me a book from my wishlist to motivate me to take a day off for this task.

      • Jack says:

        If I win the lottery, I will mail you all the books on your wishlist😃

      • Haha, I hope you will win!
        But many of the books on my list actually aren’t that expensive, particularly as I am also happy about used books.

  91. Deontaye says:

    It is possibility that I’m having a child, but i really don’t know if the kid is mines or not, if the child mine, I would like to have it every weekend and four days but I know she will disagree on 50 percent of the custody because I do not want to be in a relationship with her. How can I get 50 percent custody when the possibly mother of my child don’t want me to have 50 percent custody

    • 1. Let’s first find out if it’s your child or not.
      2. visitation and contact have nothing to do with legal custody.
      3. On the question of obtaining shared custody, please read the answer to question no. 4.

  92. Amirkayani30@gmail.co says:

    Hi Andreas
    Where is the best platform to ask you about German family laws

    • Right here on my blog. Please look for the relevant set of FAQ and keep in mind that I usually only answer questions once I have received a donation through PayPal.
      Alternatively, if you prefer a personal consultation, you can e-mail me at moser@moser-law.com. but I charge 200 EUR for a Skype consultation.

  93. Rosemary Schelinski says:

    Mother is German and living in Germany. Father is American living in the U. S.
    Father fought and won custody when the child was about 3 years old in the U. S. Father was in a bad vehicle accident later and unable to care for his child for a time so he sent the child to live with his mother who was living in Texas at the time. He did sign paperwork for custody since she would need it to enroll the child in school, etc. shortly after that the mother took the child back to Germany and refuses to allow the father any rights. The child is almost 16 now and wishes to return to his father but mother will not allow. Is there anything this child can do on his own?
    This mother also has a second child by a different American father that she took back to Germany while the father was deployed and is not allowing any contact but the expense is too great for him to fight. No question, just a side note about the mother’s character.

    • The child can simply fly to the US.
      Alternatively, the father could initiate a custody case in Germany (the US doesn’t have jurisdiction anymore).

      • As easy as the child catching a plane without the mother? Really?

      • It’s worth a try.
        I flew to Australia and Israel when I was 16 without any of my parents and without any paperwork. Nobody stopped me. But then, I looked very mature. ;)

      • I just learned that the paperwork the father signed after his accident only gave temporary custody until his health returned and was able to take care of the child which has been several years now. He had considered the abduction thing but was hoping for a more peaceful arrangement. The mother has hidden the child’s passport, etc. from him as well.

      • The father can no longer invoke the Hague Child Abduction Convention because he waited for longer than one year. Also, the Hague Convention no longer applies once the child is 16.

  94. John says:

    Hello I just found out that my son from Germany that was supposed to be adopted or terminated is 20 years old and is try to contact me in the United States. I never married this woman and did not know that she followed through and raised the child. Now he wants to see me. Will I be liable for any financial burden or back child support due to the fact that he is alive and I want to meet him. Curious since I never met him and never married the mother. I current have my own family and do not want to financial jeopardized my family and child.

    • 1) You do not owe any back pay (no child support obligation without knowledge of the child and without any claims).
      2) Whether your son can claim child support as an adult depends on his and your financial situation.
      3) If he does claim child support, it doesn’t make any legal difference whether you will have contact or not.

      • John says:

        So if he does file a claim likely I will have to pay. regardless of the fact I chose to have a relationship or not.

      • It depends on his and your financial situation. Let’s keep in mind that your son is already an adult, so he can only claim child support in special circumstances. (I am keeping these answers very short because we are actually on a page about child custody, not child support.)

  95. John says:

    Okay such is life then- will have to get legal advice then

    • Well, that’s what I am here for.
      It would be easiest to discuss all options, possibilities and strategies over the phone/Skype. I charge 200 EUR for such a consultation.

  96. chaten duggal says:

    Hello sir I m.an indian nationality and came here in germany on behalf of my kid who is german by birth coz my girlfriend is german but we r not together anymore and I m living in germany from last two years rid my german language school and got all certificates and after finish my school doing full time work here and helping.my son as unterhalt and trying to see him nore but other side of my ex girfriend mother just making always the things hard for.me to see my son cant celebrate my son birthday with him together cant see him on xmass cant just do anything on any occation and I been spoken to jugendamt as well about it and they always tells me to.ask them with please but I do that even.all the time and I m.here on aufenthaktserlaubnis 28 abs 1s1nr 3 so when I can apply for settelment permit so I can b here to take stand for my son coz I always feel.like that they will make me and my son apart from.each other any help will b appreciated

  97. Edward Barnes says:

    Hello Andreas,

    My wife and I have been separated for over 2 years, her living in Germany and myself in the UK. She has just had a baby with another man and is saying she will put my name on the birth certificate and by law that makes me the father. Can you give me any advice on this? I don’t know if this is the truth or another lie. Thank you very much for any help you can provide. Edward.

    • It’s not her who can put a name on the birth certificate, actually. It’s the civil registry office. And if you are married, you are by law assumed to be the father.

      However, you, the mother, the biological father and (later) the child can all challenge this and have the record amended. If the biological father is cooperative, this is an easy process. If not, it would require a lawsuit, which you would obviously win.

      I am not going into the details here because it’s really a question about paternity, not about child custody. I will put up a separate list of FAQ on paternity in German family law once someone will mail me a book from my wishlist. Alternatively, you can contact me directly by e-mail at moser@moser-law.com for a personal and paid consultation.

  98. Babs says:

    Hello. I have a german girlfriend and we are having our unborn baby on the way in next few months. Iam having a serious issues with this girl and she made me known me and her are done and she took some hard decisions on me which i find it difficult to solve it.. she made me know our unborn baby will not have my family name which i understand she has the power to decide on that.. and she is giving the child a name of a her choice.. but my main problem is.. we live is a different states in germany here and she told me to go to jugendamt at my city and ask for urkunde for vaterschaftsanerkenung.. but she is not giving me any sorgerecht right…so i went to the jugendamt at my city and had that urkunde for vaterschaftsanerkennung done.. and they told me what i signed for is not yet officialy… untill the woman signed and confirmed in a court that i am officialy the father before what i signed can be valid… so i told this lady and she told me she is not signing anything.. so i am not sure if what i signed is of any usefull or just useless. Because the jugendamt here told me the woman will decide when she will sign that i am officialy the father.. so all this is really complicated to me… she wants to have everything thing from me…please i need your help and advice please.

    • Babs says:

      And also.. can i request for a custody with with this paternity certificate i have with me.. becuse she didnt signed i am officialy the father.. and she is no where ready to sign that untill she has all she wants to do done..it might take 2 years before she sign i am officialy the father.. i have no idea…do i have any chances of fighting for all this rights?.

      • The custody question is answered in the FAQ above.
        For paternity, I would really like to set up a separate FAQ to avoid confusing these issues, but I can answer your question once you send a donation of at least 30 € (see Paypal button on top right). Alternatively, we can schedule a telephonic consultation which will cover everything (paternity, name, custody, visitation and contact, child support, how to proceed, strategic advice), but that costs 400 EUR.

  99. Margaret says:

    Ok question or better yet I just want to know anything about right and wrong and consequences in this matter .
    American man marries German lady has 2 kids he divorced her moves back to America.
    Stops paying child support he was behind $7000.00 son is now 20 does he still owe the rest from when he was younger and in school . And if he went to college does he still have to pay child support ? Can he just pay the money to his son?

    • It depends on the wording of the child support judgment and on the financial situation of the father and the son. I would need to take a look at that. You can e-mail it to me at moser@moser-law.com, but I charge 150 EUR for a consultation by e-mail.

  100. dad in love says:

    Hi, I am from Cyprus, living at so called north cyprus turkish republic, my ex girlfriend is german lady, we have a cyprus born son. When our son was 3 year old she seperated from me and moved back to germany. This was 4 years ago. I have been concerned our 3 year old son psychology and allowed her to do so also supported her. She was having good behave to my visitings and our son cyprus visutings Last 4 years. I also send some money regularly, plus I cover tickets and holidays also expensive gifts. I have had physiological travma, used antideprans fir many years because of this. My son is 7 now, he visits me, he is absolutely more happy with me and my family. Now my ex has new boyfriend and she is drifting away from past supportive mum. My son wants to stay with me. I feel lost. I love him like nothingh else, I am remarried, having good financial conditions and supportive big family. Any help? Thanks

    • Because I have to research what kind of agreements and treaties are in place between Germany and Northern Cyprus, I would ask for a donation of at least 50 EUR to my Paypal account moser@moser-law.com. Then I will be happy to answer your questions!

  101. Anthony R says:

    Hi , I was a soldier serving in Germany with the British army ,, from 2002-2006..
    I was in a long relationship with a german girl, she fell pregnant , and then later she gave birth while I was on operation tour ..
    I never returned to Germany after the tour but I was relocated in UK ,, my child was born , she sent me some photos .. I feel so lost and confused,,, but what options do I have for some answers? A respond would mean so much. 😌

    • Hello Anthony,

      that depends on your objectives.

      If you want to establish contact with your child, you can of course do that. No custody is required for contact and visitation, although if the mother refuses, legal paternity would have to be established first. Obviously, legal paternity would not only lead to rights, but also to obligations, particularly the obligation to pay child support depending in your income.

      I would recommend trying to find the mother and child first and try to contact them directly before hiring a lawyer. Maybe the direct and personal approach will work.

      But if you ever need any help, please feel free to contact me.

      • Anthony R says:

        Hi and thanks for your reply,,,
        The last I heard from her that she was giving the baby up for adoption to the local authority , and after that she changed phone number, just she completely dissaperad.
        I know full Well she give the baby for adoption , in time I spoke to somebody I knew and they confirmed it.
        Do you think maybe if I contact the local authority in paderborn They would be able to give me some advice and an answer ?

  102. Betina says:

    Hello! My husband is German and has been divorced since 2005. He has two children in Germany and pays even more then the courts ordered for child support. I’m proud that he can help them. His son is to be 21 years of age this August. His daughter soon to be 16. The son has completed his apprenticeship and is now working. My husband is now a U.S. Citizen and has been married to me for three years. When does the child support stop for his son. The alimony stopped years ago because the Mother of the children had moved in with her lover. The child support in the States, pretty much is over for some, once the child turns 18 years of age.

    Thank you,

    Betina

  103. Janalie mainora says:

    If the child is a German coz his father is a germnn and the mother is filipina,and the child born in Germany but living in the philippines now,and the father didn’t support the child,can I ask the German government for the support of the child?

  104. Arowojobe Basit says:

    Hello Andreas,

    I’m from Nigeria and my girl friend is from Slovakia, she live and work in Germany for 19 years.She got divorced last year with her ex husband and have all divorce document with her. Right now she has my 2 weeks old daughter but on to register her birth certificate at the rathause here in Germany, they told her my child can’t have my surname that she have to wait for 300 days before she can have my name by the Slovakia policy.

    They want to register her to the ex husband surname .How can i appeal against this decision?
    i really need your help.

    Thanks

    Basit

    • Oh that’s complicated because it involves German, Slovak and Nigerian law. Because of the research involved, I would ask you to e-mail me at moser@moser-law.com. I charge 200 EUR for a consultation by e-mail.
      Did you sign a joint custody declaration?

  105. Brian says:

    Hello,

    I need somebody’s help because I am not sure where to turn for help. I am a us citizen who had a baby out of wedlock with a Germany women. The mother told me she was going to have an abortion which i disagreed big time but had to accept because it was her right. She was lying to me all along and had our baby and named her and cared for the baby for 3 months until she decided on my birthday to tell me. To little surprise I was in total shock and very upset that I was not there for the birth. After taking sometime to comprehend this i decided to have a Dna test. I was sent a test kit from
    Germany from my babies mother and did the cotton swab and after sometime was sent a letter saying she was 99.99 percent my child. My question is I am still not on the birth certificate and want to be on it asap. The mother and I get along to a degree and she has come over to the states a couple times since the birth. She first told me all I needed was a copy of my birth certificate and send to her and all is good. She then told me she was informed that isn’t enough and I also need a copy of my passport.
    At this point I would love to handle this on my own and make sure I am put on the birth certificate and issued a copy for my records. Could somebody tell me how I go about this and who I need to contact. My second question is what rights do I have as a father. The mother is very controlling and tells me our baby is going to grow up in Germany. I also want to get her dual citizenship after I am on the birth certificate. How do I go about getting dual citizenship as well. What rights do I have as this child’s father. I also want her to be an American and get an equal opportunity in the states. I am stable and have a college education and have no criminal history. I just don’t like how she is dictating everything and wondered if I should get an attorney to fight for my rights. She has told me numerous times she does not want to go through the courts. She doesn’t ever ask for money but I send her money every month. My parents are suggesting I stop sending her money and put that money away in a college fund or savings account for my daughter here in the states. Sorry for the long email and a ton of questions but I Just miss my daughter a ton and want to make sure I get my equal rights because I want to be a part of her life and give her a chance to be an American as well

    • Hello Brian,
      The first thing is to establish legal paternity. This cannot be done by mail, but you can do it at the closest German consulate.
      Because you pose quite a number of questions, I would appreciate a donation before I will answer them in detail.

  106. Marco says:

    Hello Andreas,

    during the 2014, my wife and I signed a separation contract: the kids stayed with me, she went to London and she could meet them twice a month (she never did).
    Then she came back and I fell again in her trap (she has a Narcissistic Pathological Disorder, I’ve just found out) and now, again, the third time and just after having bought a house together, she wants to be separated (without a contract, living in the same house as all the Narcissistic Pathological liars would do).
    In case of a dispute, would the old contract be considered? I mean, she already left the kids without remorse, I could she now be able to take care of them?

    Thanks.

    Regards,
    Marco

  107. jen says:

    I have a question regarding protecting my child from an abusive parent, i would like to email u directly though if i may?

  108. JC says:

    What is that letter called if I give the mother of my child permission to make decisions for our child in regards to hospital visits, schooling, travel etc.

  109. Omari says:

    Hello, if a german man is married to a foreigner & both are living with their children outside Germany “even outside the European union”. Unfortunately divorce happens, does the German law applies to german children with habitual residence outside Germany? or would the family -law of the foreign country where they live applies?

  110. Rodrigo Perez-Garcia says:

    Dear Mr. Moser,
    Thank you very much for all the information you have made available to parents in dificult situations.
    I have a question about the rights I have as a father with joint custody. I am from Spain doing my doctorate in Berlin.My girlfriend and I decided to have a child and now the situation is more than complicated in so many senses. However, we had agreed to go on holidays to visit my parents but to my surprise now she told me she doesn’t want to go and therefore Matilda (my one year daughter) neither. Can I do something? Would be possible to legally defend the right of my little one to meet her Spanish family?
    Thank you very much in advance, R

    • Dear Rodrigo,
      of course your daughter has the right to meet her grandparents and I wouldn’t see any reason why a trip to Spain wouldn’t be feasible. After all, it’s not like a trip to the Himalaya. However, if the mother refuses stubbornly, your only option is to go to court asking the court to allow you to make the decision on the holiday to Spain alone.

      • Rodrigo Perez-Garcia says:

        Hello again,
        Thanks for the feedback. I guess I will need to hurry, because we are supposed to leave in 10 days..will try to contact the jungendamt today.
        I am scared, because in this phase of my PhD I do really need a lot of time for my studies (which I assume are a good ground for the prospective future of both of us -my daughter and me-) and I don’t know how this will influence my rights to ask for Matilda to live with me, time spend with her Spanish relatives, etc.
        It is not very likely for me to stay in Berlin, as there are not much jobs in chemistry here, and I would like that I am consider to take as much good care of my beloved one as the mother. I am helping her every time she has a job, and I visit her at least one whole day per week but my experiments demand me to work a lot of time.
        Anyhow, thousand doubts and concerns..
        Thank you for your awesome work!
        R

      • rodrigo says:

        Dear Mr. Moser,
        I did end up going on holidays without my daughter.
        As I get back I would like to ask (properly) for what I believe it is better for her and hence to take care of her – in my apartment – exactly half of the time.
        What it will be the procedure to follow? Could you take care of such a thing from another country or shall i best contact another attorney?
        I talked with my supervisor and I have the right to get an extra year to finish my PhD so I would like to use this time to be able to educate Matilda and to study..
        The mother has not a fix job -she is a freelance- and my studies give me a stipendium and a far more enriching environment.
        Thank you very much in advance! R

      • I cannot represent you in such proceeding because I won’t be in Germany for the foreseeable future.

      • Rodrigo says:

        Any suggestions? Could u please indicate a good colleague to refer to? Thanks, r

      • If you send me an e-mail (moser@moser-law.com) with a short recount of your situation, I can recommend a law firm in Germany.

      • Dear Rodrigo,
        thank you very much for mailing me the book “Invention of Nature” about Alexander von Humboldt! I have replied to your questions by e-mail.

  111. Kimberly Koch says:

    I moved to Germany with my husband and four kids. We lived in the states, married in the states, had our four kids in the states and own a home in the states. We moved to Germany for my husbands post-doc position. He is acitizen in Germany with an American greencard. I am an American citizen with a 3 year visa that ends in 2017. Our oldest daughter is mine from another man but my husband adopted her as a child in America. After moving to Germany my husband became very controlling and in many ways emotionally abusive. I have stayed home and cared for the children and home and him the last 14 years. In Germany he hid the passports from me and when I got them back after 9 months, I left for the US with my kids without his knowledge and without knowledge of the HAUGE convention. He had them brought back to Germany. I was left in America and just under a year later I am back in Germany to fight for my kids. I have very little since he took everything. I want to bring my kids back to the US but have no knowledge of the law and little money and resources. What are my rights? I have seen my kids and the older ones he has filled their heads with lies but the younger are a bit clueless to his lies and know mommy has always cared for them. The courts will talk to the kids and he has had an attorney for many months and I am just now trying to get one. The first hearing is in 3 days. Please tell me anything that will help. What do I need to know? I have no support or family here and it will be hard to work here. What are the chances of bringing my kids home to the US? Thank you.

    • I would like to read the custody application, any other paperwork filed and the decision in the Hague Convention case before I can make any informed comment.
      You can e-mail it to me at moser@moser-law.com, but I charge 400 EUR for a telephonic consultation.

      • Kimberly Koch says:

        I am currently in Germany and the first hearing is in Wednesday this week. I can barely afford the attorney I have here or accommodations to stay here. I do not have the paperwork for the hearing that took place for the first trial regarding the HAUGE convention. The divorce lawyer can’t help with the case for the kids and seems unsure as to how to handle our assets in the states, which is mainly a house. I would really appreciated any advice pertaining to my situation. At this point I would like to bring my kids home to the country they were born and raised and all called home their entire life. Thank you and help is great.

      • Unfortunately I don’t work without getting paid. But from what I read, you would really need to change your approach in the custody case if you want to have a chance.

  112. ROY says:

    Is a child forced to see his father after his parents are divorced?… can he choose not to? (In germany)

    • Contact between a parent and a child is both a right of the parent and of the child (§ 1684 I BGB). That right can be enforced against the will of the other party. This applies particularly in cases of younger children, where their denial to have contact with a parent is usually the effect of the other parent’s influence.

  113. Roy Doppelt says:

    Andreas,

    I am an attorney in San Diego, CA. The father lives in San Diego and conception occurred in San Diego. The mother was a student in San Diego and moved back to Germany when she was pregnant. Child born in Germany. Mother requested child support from CA court and there is going to be a paternity judgment entered in San Diego as parties were not married.

    Do you know the legal process to register the CA [US] paternity judgment in Germany? Do you know what the rights of the father would be as the mother is denying US jurisdiction over custody and visitation? Do you have a recommendation to an attorney or law firm who could help? If anyone else who is reading this post has any information, it would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.

    Roy

    • Hello Roy,

      The registration of paternity can most easily and cheaply be done at the German Consulate. It does not require a judgement, just an acknowledgement of paternity.

      The German courts would not accept CA jurisdiction over custody or visitation as the child doesn’t reside in CA. That’s not even up to the mother. Of course the couple can find an agreement on the substantive law elements of custody and visitation, but I wouldn’t bring a disputed case in CA. That would be a waste of time and money.

  114. Veronica says:

    My son lost custody of his children- 2 girls. I live in the U.S. Is there anything I can do from my location to gain custody of girls? I plan on flying to Germany but is there any process I can start? TIA

  115. Aicha says:

    Hello, I am from Cameroon married to a German our daughter is 17months old our marriage is a mess and I want to leave but my husband promise to take my daughter away from me and send me back to cameroon , he says because he is german he will get full custody of the child , I am a house wife and I don’t want to loose my daughter. Will he get full custody of our daughter just because I am not german?

    • No. Citizenship plays practically no role in custody proceedings.

    • Also, your husband cannot “send you back” because he is not the immigration office. As long as you have at least shared custody of your daughter and she lives in Germany, you get a residence permit based on that, even after a divorce (sec. 28 I AufenthG).

  116. Ilona Constable says:

    My niece gave me temporary custody of her boys 4 and 6. She was murdered and her boys sent back to Germany by DCF with their bioligical father. My niece had sole custody when she came here
    Does this still count in Germany or only over here. Her mom has to go through court to get visitation and we were wondering if this counts over there?
    Thank you

    • I am very sorry to hear about this terrible situation!

      But I would need to read all the court documents and I would also need to know what country is “over here” before passing any judgment.

      Please contact me by e-mail at moser@moser-law.com and keep in mind that I charge 400 EUR for a consultation.

  117. Marco says:

    Hi Andreas, a short question.
    I have bought a house with my wife (both owner) and she filed, for the third time in 3 years, an in house separation (she is pathological narcissistic).
    I don’t want to live with her anymore as this is hurting me. Am I forced to live with her or can I ask the Family Court to decide who will stay in the house with the kids (7 and 12 yo)?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Dear Marco,
      I am sorry to hear about this wearisome situation. Nobody can force you to live at the same house with your wife. You are either free to move of course or, as you suggested, to ask the Family Court to decide who will stay in the house. This decision will then be based on who of you works where, for whom it would be easier to find another apartment, and so on.

      • Marco says:

        Dear Andreas,
        my lawyer told me it’s not possible but your answer confirms what the Jugendamt told me.
        Thanks a lot!

  118. Odhiambo says:

    If court decides that at a particular time a father or mother collects a child at a particular place and time and from either of the two can a third party act in giving or receiving the children when the time comes? What are the legal implications of not doing so?

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