Kontny Law Firm - Cross-border legal solutions - your lawyer for competent advice in two languages

Lawyer for International Family Law in Cologne

Family law services

Legal advice on international family matters

Clear answers to complex questions

In an increasingly globalized world in which bi-national marriages are becoming more and more common, uncertainties often arise regarding marriage law, divorce law and maintenance law. This is especially true when different nations are involved.

International family law offers comprehensive answers to all of these legal questions that arise from cross-border family relationships. It contains precise rules on marriage, divorce, parental responsibility, maintenance, custody and adoption, especially when at least one of the parties involved has a connection to another country.

The overarching goal of international family law is to resolve conflicts and create uniform rules for family matters. However, due to international agreements, national laws and court decisions, this area of law can be extremely complex.

Whether you are in the midst of an international divorce situation or would like to conclude a prenuptial agreement for cross-border matters, our family law firm is here to provide you with professional support. We offer support and clarity in all matters of international family law.

International marriage

Las Vegas, Venice or tropical palm trees on the beach often offer a romantic backdrop for a wedding. However, it should not be forgotten that marriage is a legally binding contract with implications in many ways.

  • The place of marriage does not automatically determine the legal system that governs the other legal relationships between spouses, such as naming rights, matrimonial property regimes and child custody. 

    • A separate check is required, especially for married couples of different nationalities. 

    • It is best to consult a lawyer beforehand and, if necessary, draw up a prenuptial agreement.

    • Whether a German court or an authority has to apply German or foreign law is determined by international private law.

  • Recognition of a marriage concluded abroad:

    • At the time of marriage, the legal requirements (singleness, minimum age) for marriage must be met for both fiancées in accordance with their home law.

    • With regard to the form of the marriage, the law at the place of marriage must be observed.

  • The foreign marriage certificate serves as proof of a marriage concluded abroad.

International divorce law

In the case of an international divorce, the Rome III Regulation of the EU applies.

  • This specifies which national law applies to a divorce for a married couple in an international context.

  • The Rome III Regulation covers the substantive law of divorce. 

    • Financial consequences of the marriage, maintenance obligations, as well as questions regarding the name of the spouses, parental custody and inheritances are excluded.

  • According to the Rome III Regulation, spouses can make a choice of law as part of a separation and divorce agreement.

  • If no choice of law has been made, divorce law is usually based on the spouses' habitual residence at the time the divorce is filed.

    • This is determined based on the actual circumstances: the focus of family and professional contacts plays a major role.

  • If the spouses do not have a common habitual residence but have a common nationality, the divorce law must be determined accordingly.

Recognition of a divorce

  • Recognition of a foreign divorce in Germany

    • In principle, the foreign decision only becomes effective for the German legal area after it has been recognized by the state judicial administration.

  • Recognition of a German divorce abroad

    • In order to clarify the marriage requirements for bi-national marriages or to enforce property rights, it is often necessary for a German divorce decision to be recognized abroad and entered in the civil status register there.

    • Usually, a decision from the local courts or authorities is required for the recognition of German divorce decisions.

    • In the EU, certain German divorce decisions are regularly recognized in another EU member state (except Denmark) without the need for prior legal proceedings.

  • A law firm specializing in international family law will provide you with comprehensive information about the specific procedures and give you individual information about your legal situation.

Maintenance law with international references

The right to maintenance always has a foreign connection when either the person entitled to maintenance or the person obliged to pay maintenance is abroad.

  • There is no uniform maintenance law in Europe.

    • First, it must be determined which court has international jurisdiction.

    • This applies primarily European Maintenance Regulation (EuUnthVO) for all EU member states. 

    • This means, for example, that the parent living abroad can also be claimed if the child lives in Germany.

  • The parties can agree on the place of jurisdiction with regard to existing and future maintenance disputes.

    • If it is maintenance for a minor child, this is not possible.

    • The court at the child's place of residence then has jurisdiction. 

  • The Hague maintenance protocol (HUP) determines the applicability of family law. 

    • It applies to all member states and non-member states.

    • With the exception of child support, a choice of law can also be made here. 

  • If you have moved abroad as a dependent, you can enforce adjustments with the help of a lawyer. 

    • Depending on the cost of living, this can lead to an increase or reduction in the maintenance entitlement.

Professional expertise in international family law

With the increasing emergence of international family constellations, international family law is becoming increasingly important. Our family law firm is specifically geared towards these developments and offers you sound advice on all matters relating to international family law.

In the area of divorce, we provide you with competent support in carrying out legally compliant divorce proceedings with a foreign connection. We are at your side when it comes to initiating a recognition procedure and will provide you with comprehensive advice on the most cost-effective implementation of your divorce. Are you planning a wedding abroad? With our expertise, your marriage will be legally recognized.

We also work for you in international maintenance law: We are committed to obtaining and enforcing international maintenance orders. If the person liable for maintenance has moved abroad, we take into account possible adjustments due to changes in the cost of living abroad.

Our international family law firm has extensive and many years of experience in dealing with international cases. In order to guarantee you comprehensive advice, we regularly work closely with colleagues from abroad

International family law deals with legal issues arising from cross-border family relationships. It includes regulations on marriage, divorce, parental responsibility, maintenance, custody and adoption.
In principle, the law of the country in which the marriage takes place applies to marriage. In some cases, international agreements or treaties can also influence marriage, especially when it comes to recognizing marriages between different countries.
Agreements with a foreign connection must comply with the effectiveness requirements of German law. The legally provided assessments in the event of divorce must not be overridden to such an extent that their essence no longer remains.
The EU GüVO applies to property law that is particularly relevant in the event of a divorce. In it, the European states agreed that marriages should be governed by the law of the state in which the spouses have their first common habitual residence after marriage.
In order to recognize a divorce carried out abroad, an application for recognition must be submitted to the respective state judicial administration in Germany. A formal recognition procedure is not necessary for a divorce within the EU or in the home country of both spouses
This depends on the applicable law. Many foreign legal systems have a so-called achievement community. Everything acquired during the marriage belongs to the spouses jointly. In Germany there is an equalization of gains, so that a spouse receives an asset equalization.
The EU Property Rights Regulation of January 29, 2019 determines the property status of spouses in the event of a divorce. If you have not agreed anything, the legal matrimonial property regime of the country in which you are a citizen applies until January 29, 2019. Thereafter, the law of the state of your first common habitual residence applies.
Without a maintenance permit, you must first check in which country the procedure must be carried out and which law is applicable. There are various international agreements for this. If the person liable for maintenance has moved abroad, this can lead to a reduction or increase in maintenance costs.
There are regulations in EU law, in international agreements and in national law. This stipulates that all decisions related to parental responsibility and child protection will be automatically recognized in all other EU member states (except Denmark).
A divorce in Germany is not a problem if the spouses have the same nationality. In this case, the courts of the home country are responsible for the divorce. If both spouses have their “habitual residence” in the same country, the courts of that country are responsible.

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