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Divorce by Mutual Consent

The vast majority of divorces in Germany are now done amicably.

The German family law provides for these simplified ways of divorce, which allows for a quick and inexpensive dissolving of the marriage when both spouses wish to be divorced. Moreover, in most of the cases it´s possible to find a peaceful solution with the consent of the spouse even in difficult initial situations.

In Germany for a divorce by mutual consent it´s necessary that after one year of separation a lawyer sends a divorce application to the family court. There is no need to give the reasons for the divorce. The spouse must then approve the court date of the divorce and this needs no lawyer.

More amicable settlements to ancillary matters such as maintenance, custody or handling and property disputes may nevertheless be resolved of court independently. However, these arrangements are not necessary for the implementation of consensual divorce. Only the balance of the property acquired by both spouses, entitlements to pension and other pension costs is carried out by the court. These matters can also be notarized beforehand and excluded. If both spouses are not German citizens, a supply balance is in most cases not required by law.

Since 1998 I have assisted international individuals and business customers. The international client is our top priority. I am active both in the field of general contract law and in the area of family law since 1998. Based on this experience, the contractual aspects of all separation and divorce consequences, clarification of difficult situations and fast amicable divorces are my strengths.

My other main focus is in the area of immigration law. I know the particularities of marriage and divorce of bi-national marriages and possible effects on the immigration status of the alien.

In light of these specializations I have experienced a lot in court. After all, I have to say, that I am happy about the developments of divorces by mutual consent. A lot of money can be saved and a lot of energy can flow into the future instead of the past. Separate couples are not enemies anymore, but friends and children can easily move between mother and father, without feeling guilty in that situation or sad. They can feel safe in new family constellations, instead of being confronted again and again with the old problems of their parents, that have in most of the cases nothing to do with the children, but hinder their developments into happy and self-responsible adults.

So the last meeting at court in a case of divorce by mutual consent a few weeks ago surprised all participants. The couple was already separated for more than three years and my divorce application to the court for the Japanese wife was very short, as there was not so much to say. As usual I took my place together with the wife on the left side of the judge, the side for the applicant. Before anyone could say anything, quickly and as a matter of course, the spouse took the seat next to the wife and the place on the right side of the judge, the place for the respondent, remained empty.

The judge looked at the both of them and then slightly bemused asked: "Are you sure, you want to get divorced?" And finally added: "Well, you both say conscientiously you are separated for three years and so I will not check this" and then smiled.

Rebecca Müller

Partner at vpmk attorneys, Berlin

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