How to get a Divorce in Germany [2024 English Guide]

by | Family in Germany

Last Update: Feb 23, 2024 @ 3:35 pm

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If you are looking for divorce procedures in Germany, let me tell you that Germany has very simple, easy, and quick procedures for divorce and separation cases if both partners are willing. According to a study, it was noted that divorce cases were less common in Germany as compared to the other countries. The trend is changing day by day, and the number is increasing. If you and your spouse have come to the point where you want to end your marriage, then you both have two options. The first option is to separate yourself from each other legally, and the other option is divorce.

Legal Separation in Germany 

If you and your partner want to live permanently separately, then you can have a legal separation. Legal formalities are not required if you both are doing a legal separation.

Short Summary of Divorce in Germany

If you and your spouse want to end and break the marital relationship permanently, then Divorce is another option. Divorce usually requires a minimum of one year of separation if both parties are agreed to have the Divorce. If any of the partners are not willing to have a divorce, then the minimum period increases to three years.

There is a foreign law applicable in Germany. If your spouse is a foreigner, there is a possibility of discussing with the judge about the matter. The judge may grant the divorce according to the laws applicable in their home country. This is just one way to get relief of a separate one-year period if your home country does not have any rule of the minimum separation period.

Any party submits a divorce application to the nearest family court branch, where they are registered legally. Only one lawyer would handle the case if both parties were willing to have a divorce. On the other side, if any party shows disagreement, they will hire the lawyers separately to resolve the case.

Exemption of One Year Separation Time

If couples face unbearable hardship, they don't have to be separated for one year to get a divorce. This includes;

  • Frequent mistreatment from a spouse
  • Regular abuse
  • Bearing a spouse who is taking alcohol too much

Reasons for Divorce in Germany

There might be several reasons behind divorce decisions between two parties. These reasons might include;

  • Mistreatment
  • Over usage of the drugs
  • Stress
  • Lack of intimacy
  • Regular abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Excessive use of alcohol
  • Debt 

Barriers to Getting a Divorce

Even if a partner is facing unbearable hardship, there are barriers to getting a divorce. If they have young children, they must have one year of separation time to get a divorce.

Refusal to Divorce Application

The divorce application will be rejected if one of the parties suffers from serious illness, and the Divorce may affect their health regardless of significant or unbearable hardship.

What if Your Visa will cancel after the Divorce?

If you came to Germany to marry a person who already lives in Germany or you have a right to live in Germany due to your marriage and your marriage period is less than three years, then you may lose your entitlement to live in Germany after getting a divorce. A new work permit will be issued to you, If you have been married for three years. This permit will assist and allow you to stay for one year after Divorce. After one year of Divorce, you must apply for the right to live in Germany independently.

Extension in Residence Permit

You can apply for a permit extension in a few of the situations. There is no requirement to meet the three-year time of marriage. These circumstances are mentioned below;

  • If you have a child
  • If your partner is violent to you
  • If you are a skilled worker in Germany
  • If you are a vocational trainee in a vocational training institute or college
  • If you are from any situations mentioned above, your residence permit will be extended easily.

Complete Process to Get a Divorce in Germany

The process of getting a divorce in Germany is relatively simple and easy. If there are no complications, the divorce case will be resolved within four to six months. If you and your partner have disputed assets and wealth, your case will take a year or more. The court will take time to look into the matter and decide their wealth and assets in favor of both partners.

Required Documents for Divorce in Germany

Before applying, you must complete and prepare all required documents for smooth and quick application submission. Here are documents list;

  • Identity proof
  • Divorce application
  • Certificate of Marriage
  • Birth certificates of your children

You must have all required documents translated into German if they are issued in other languages. 

Step-by-Step Divorce Guide in Germany

We know it could be a painful process but here are the steps of getting a divorce in Germany.

Hire a Lawyer

Hire a lawyer to handle the divorce case and application on your behalf.

Submit Required Documents

Submit all required documents as mentioned earlier, along with your divorce application.


Pay the lawyer and court fee for the divorce application.

Application Review

The court will review your application and submitted documents.

Court Forward it your Partner

The court will send them to your partner to get their response. The court will also send the additional forms regarding maintenance claims, pension rights, and children's custody.

Divorce Appointment

Once the document is finished, you will get a divorce appointment. Both Partners, and your lawyer, must attend the court on the appointment date.

Final Verdict

The court will give a final decision.

How long is Divorce Proceedings in Germany? 

The initial process before a divorce appointment may take almost six months. The length of further proceedings varies and depends upon the marriage period, the complexity of the situations, disputed assets, division of the wealth, and willingness of the partners.

    How Much is the Cost of the Divorce Process in Germany? 

    The cost varies depending on the circumstances given above. The lawyer will consider all aspects like the number of children and the partners' earnings. Legal costs fall between 1000 Euros to 3000 Euros. This cost will be divided among both partners. These payments will be high in case of disputes and disagreements. The process will take time and work to resolve the dispute, which makes the process more expansive for both parties. How to Get Legal Aid

    There is legal aid for people who are not earning a high income to go through this process. Legal aid also varies. It can be reduced and will be canceled depending on the circumstances. A person must apply to the state to get legal aid. You can also ask your lawyer to help you get this aid if you don't know the legal aid process.

    Considerable Aspects During Divorce Process

    You must consider several factors when getting a divorce in Germany.

    Child Support

    If you have children, they will suffer from your decision to Divorce. Even if the child is not living with a parent, the parents must have to pay for the child's living. This will be paid regularly until the child reaches the age of 18 and can earn money by themself. The amount will depend on the child's age and the parent's income. If the parents are earning a handsome amount, the child will get a larger amount for the support and the living. The court will also consider other factors like pension funds, saving interest, rental income, and benefit payments.

    Child Custody

    As a rule, both parents will have joint custody of the child if no parent is abusing the child. Parents will make major decisions about children together. Day-to-day minor decisions will be taken by the parent with whom the child is living. If parents are not agreed, the court will decide on one parent who will make important decisions about the child.

    Spousal Maintenance Claim

    The court will decide if one partner is eligible to receive any maintenance claims. These payments are separate from child support. The partner who has less income will receive this payment. If the spouse meets the criteria below, they will get spousal maintenance.

    • If the spouse is unable to earn due to age
    • If the spouse has a serious illness
    • If a spouse has a permanent weakness
    • If the spouse has taken care of the child
    • If the spouse is jobless
    • If the spouse needs payments for further education

    The spouse will get a maintenance claim for a specific period. There is no such case in which they can claim spousal maintenance for a lifetime.

    Division of The Property

    To complete the divorce process effectively, you must divide your properties between yourself and your partner. Both partners can divide the properties equally. If they have a dispute about their marital home, the court will decide which party will have that home.

    Pension Rights

    The court will also consider the pension rights. The court will give a decision in favor of the party earning less than the other party.

    Final Words

    So, in this article, you have all the important instructions and required information to get a divorce if you do not want to stay with your partner anymore.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Can you stay in Germany after getting a divorce?

    Yes. But it depends if your marriage was for three or more years or if you have a residence permit based on your work but not your marriage. The process will be a bit long and complicated if you have children. That is why the German court has a law of one-year separation before Divorce.

    Would you get a divorce from Germany even if you are not married in Germany?

    As long as you live in Germany, you can file your application for Divorce.

    Will your home country recognize the divorce document?

    Most countries recognize Divorce from Germany, but you must make sure from the family court of your home country.

    What if you do not meet the one-year separation criteria and your spouse is not cooperative, you still want a quicker divorce?

    You can have a divorce, but the process will be tricky and complicated.

    How long does a divorce process in Germany take?

    If both of you live in Germany, have no child, and have no financial claims, the process will take a few months. But in other cases, the process will take a year or more.

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