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The Law Office of BIRGIT KRUESMANN, offers a complete range of legal services to facilitate the sympathetic and personal handling of all matters pertaining to matrimonial and family law:

Matrimonial, Family and Divorce Law, Inheritance, Divorce, amicable divorce, Separation, Annulment, Spousal Support, Alimony, Marital property, Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, Paternity, Child Support, Child Custody, Child Care, Visitation Rights, Fathers Rights, Parental Rights, Parenting Time, Marital Agreements, Marital Property Settlements, Postnuptial Agreements, Premarital Agreements, Separation Agreements, I also assist and support: Collaborative Family Law, Family Mediation

An Amicable Divorce

The decision to end a marriage is not an easy one, and often it is accompanied by anger, fear and resentment. The negative emotions affect the legal process and its outcome. Most importantly, if children are involved, they can be deeply distressed. It is in your family's interest to approach divorce from an amicable perspective; this can spare you a great deal of time, money and heartache. An experienced family law attorney can help you deal with your situation clearly and objectively. The more hostile the divorce, the more difficult it will be to resolve the legal issues that surround it. Questions of spousal support, division of property and custody can be contentious.
When it comes to child custody, the court will want to ensure that all decisions are made in the best interests of the children. It is in your interests, therefore, to work toward agreement with your spouse on how custody will be apportioned, keeping in mind how important it is for the children to have both parents in their lives (unless abuse or neglect is involved). In addition, after the legal maneuvering is over, you and your former spouse will need to work together to make important parenting decisions. If you can come to an agreement on custody, you are more likely to cooperate with each other later.
Accepting that the divorce is happening and making the best of the situation goes a long way toward quelling conflict. Divorce is also the beginning of a new life, so it is the best way to make a plan for moving on after the divorce is done, instead of dealing with the problems of the past.



Mediation and counseling, collaborative law, there are lawyers who assist you to work out a fair agreement which is in the best interest of both parties and the children.
In the event of a divorce, the parents are also advised to create the conditions for compliance with parental responsibility in a way beneficial to the welfare of the children. The parents are supported, with appropriate involvement of the childrens concern, in developing an agreed plan for the provision of parental care. There is a database of all advice centers at It is also possible to resolve conflict and come to an amicable agreement with the aid of mediation. More information about family mediation can be found at

If you decide to pursue a divorce, you can make it more amicable. When you fight, you force the other person to fight against you. If you are committed to finding solutions that work for both of you, the resistance against you might dissolve. An experienced family law attorney can be your best ally in achieving a beneficial resolution. Contact a family law attorney who is interested in helping you reach an amicable resolution.

Professional development

Birgit Kruesmann born Ulm, Germany 1971, admitted to bar, 1999, Munich and District Court.

Education: Universität Passau and Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München, since 2007 specialized in family and divorce law - Fachanwalt für Familienrecht, since 2011 further education for Family-Mediation  and Collaborative law

Member: German Bar Association, Munich Bar Association, DAV, BAFM, MiKK, Cooperative Praxis München,

Practice Areas 

Matrimonial, Family and Divorce Law; Inheritance, Divorce; Separation, Spouses support, Child Support; Child Custody; Paternity; Visitation Rights, Agreements,

1. Divorce under German law
A marriage can only be dissolved by a court judgment following an application by one or both spouses.The marriage can be dissolved if it has broken down. The marriage has broken down if the parties are no longer cohabiting and if it cannot be expected that the parties will resume matrimonial cohabitation. There is an irrefutable presumption that the marriage has broken down if the parties have been living apart for one year and both apply for divorce or if the respondent consents to the divorce. After a separation period of three years, there is an irrefutable presumption that the marriage has broken down, without any comments being required from the parties to the proceedings. A continuation of a marriage that has broken down is possible if and as long as the maintenance of the marriage is, exceptionally, necessary on special grounds in the interests of the minor children of the marriage. The same applies if and as long as divorce would, for the respondent who is not consenting thereto, constitute such severe hardship because of exceptional circumstances that the maintenance of the marriage, exceptionally, appears necessary even taking the applicant's interests into account.
It is a requirement of living apart that there is no domestic cohabitation between the spouses and one spouse evidently does not want there to be such cohabitation because he/she refuses matrimonial cohabitation. These circumstances must if necessary be proved; problems exist primarily in the case of living apart within the matrimonial home, which is specifically admitted by law.
The only ground for divorce recognized by Germany law is the irreparable breakdown of the marriage. There is no divorce on the basis of fault on the part of a spouse.

2. Inheritance
If the conditions for obtaining a divorce are met and the testator has applied for or consented to the divorce, the spouse's statutory right of inheritance is excluded. A will in favor of the spouse is invalid in this case, unless the testator made it also to cover the event of divorce. 

3. Legal separation
The spouses must live separately. The spouses are living separately if they no longer have a joint household and if one spouse refuses matrimonial relations.
If the spouses are living separately or if one of them wishes to live separately, a spouse may demand that the other spouse leaves him the matrimonial home, or a part of it, for his sole use provided this is necessary in order to prevent unreasonable hardship. The utilization of the household goods may also be regulated for the period of the separation. Either spouse may demand that the other spouse hands over to him the household items belonging to him. He must however allow the other spouse to use them if that party requires them in order to maintain his new separate household and if it is equitable in the individual case to allow him to have them.

4. Marriage annulment
A marriage can only be annulled by a court judgment following an application. There is no declaration of nullity. Conditions for a marriage annulment are for example: one spouse is not of full age or has not been validly exempted from this requirement, one spouse is legally incompetent, one spouse is already married, the spouses are directly related to one another or are full or half siblings, the parties entering into the marriage have not made the declarations about entering into marriage personally and present at the same time before the civil registrar or have made those declarations subject to a condition or a time restriction.

In respect of household goods and the matrimonial home, the arrangements apply in the same way as with divorce. The spouse's right of inheritance expires as in the case of a divorce, namely when the conditions for the annulment exist and a corresponding application has been served on the spouses.
As with divorce, maintenance rights exist in the following circumstances:in favour of a spouse who was not aware of the reason for the annulment of the marriage or who, in cases of fraud and unlawful threats, has been deceived or threatened by the other spouse or with that spouse's knowledge or in favour of both spouses in the event of breach of the prohibitions on marriage in the case of bigamous marriage and family relationship and in the event of contravention of the formalities for entering into a marriage, if both spouses were aware that the marriage was capable of being annulled.

5. Spousal support
A spouse must provide for his own maintenance after divorce. He need therefore only engage in appropriate gainful employment. A divorced spouse is entitled to maintenance in the following circumstances

  1. as long as, and to the extent that, he cannot be expected to engage in gainful employment because he is looking after a joint child or because of illness or weakness in his physical or mental powers at the time of the divorce.
  2. if he can no longer be expected to engage in gainful employment because of his age at the time of the divorce.
  3. as long as and to the extent that the divorced spouse is undergoing education, further training or retraining in order to make up for disadvantages caused by marriage. This is however conditional upon his commencing the education, further training or retaining as soon as possible so as to achieve appropriate gainful employment guaranteeing him a lasting living, and the education must be expected to be successfully concluded,
  4. as long as and to the extent that the spouse is unable to find any appropriate gainful employment after the divorce
  5. to the extent that and as long as he cannot, on other serious grounds, be expected to engage in gainful employment and it would be grossly inequitable to refuse maintenance, taking account of the interests of both spouses,
  6. to the extent that the income from appropriate gainful employment is insufficient to cover the full cost of maintenance


The level of the maintenance is determined by the matrimonial living conditions and also covers the costs of appropriate insurance against sickness and the need for care as well as old age and reduced earning capacity. If the spouse who is obliged to provide maintenance is incapable, in accordance with his earnings and financial circumstances and having regard to his other obligations, of providing maintenance to the entitled party without endangering his own appropriate maintenance, he need only provide maintenance to the extent that it is equitable, having regard to the needs and to the earning and financial circumstances of the divorced spouses.

6. Matrimonial property
If the spouses live under the statutory matrimonial property regime, the increase in the value of such property achieved during the period of the marriage is divided between the spouses on divorce If the spouses have agreed upon community of property, the spouses must divide their entire property.
As regards household goods, those goods which are in joint ownership shall be divided in a just and expedient manner by the court. Items of household goods belonging to one spouse are allocated to the other spouse if that spouse depends on continuing to use them and if the transfer is reasonable for the owner.
Pension entitlements acquired by the spouses during the marriage (e.g statutory pension scheme, pension rights pension payments from the company pension scheme or from private pension insurance policies) are divided on divorce by way of equalization of provision.

7. Married name
A divorced spouse retains the married name chosen by the spouses when concluding the marriage. By declaration made to the civil registrar, he may again adopt his name at birth or the name which he used until the married name was determined.

8. Child custody
If parents have joint care of their children and get divorced/separated, the joint care continues. Apart from cases where the welfare of the children is endangered, the joint care is only examined and decided upon by the court in cases in which one parent applies to be awarded sole parental care. Such an application must be upheld if it is to be expected that the cancellation of joint care and the transfer to the applicant best serves the needs of welfare.

9. Visitation rights / access
German law assumes that it is normally helpful for the child's welfare to have contact with both parents and it therefore guarantees a right on the part of the child to have contact with both parents and a right and an obligation for both parents to have contact.

10. Child support
Parents are obliged to provide maintenance for their children. Children are entitled to maintenance if they are incapable of maintaining themselves. The parents' maintenance obligation exists in the context of their ability to pay. A guardian line for this is the Düsseldorfer Tabelle.
Düsseldorfer Tabelle 2017

However, parents have an increased ability to pay in respect of their children, i.e. it is the achievable income, not merely the available income, which is decisive. The parents must in principle provide maintenance for children pro rata in accordance with their earnings and financial circumstances. However, a parent looking after a child performs his maintenance obligation by caring for and looking after the child The maintenance of the child covers all the child's living requirements including the costs of an appropriate education.

11. Jurisdiction
The application for divorce/ marriage annulment must in principle be lodged at the district court/family court. The family court in whose district the spouses have their usual joint residence normally has geographical jurisdiction.

12. Applicable divorce law (Changed with ROM III in 06/21/2012)
The divorce is primarily subject to the law to which the spouses have agreed, as far as it is the divorce law of one of the following countries:

  1. the law of the state in which both spouses are usually resident or
  2. the law of the state in which both spouses were last usually resident during the marriage, if either of them is still usually resident there,
  3. the law of the state one spouse is citizen of
  4. the law of the state of the court where the divorce is filed   
  5. Where no admissible choice of law has been made by the spouses, the general effects of the marriage are in principle subject to the law of the state of which both spouses are nationals or were last nationals during the marriage, if either of them is still a national of this state. If no joint nationality exists for this purpose, the general effects of the marriage are subject to the following law: 
  6. the law of the state in which both spouses are usually resident 
  7. the law of the state in which both spouses were last usually resident during the marriage, if either of them is still usually resident there,
  8. the law of the state both spouses are citizen of
  9. the law of the state of the court where the divorce is filed

13. Legal aid

A citizen whose personal and financial circumstances are such that he is unable to afford the costs of conducting proceedings or who can only afford to pay part of the costs or can only pay them in installments can claim legal aid inter alia in respect of proceedings before the civil courts. This is conditional upon the intended legal prosecution or legal defense having sufficient prospects of success and not appearing malicious. This guarantees that those whose are financially less well off also have access to the courts. Depending on the available income, legal aid for the proceedings pays the party's own contribution to the court costs and the costs of the party's own lawyer, in whole or in part. legal aid form sheet: legal aid