Recognition of a foreign divorce

30.08.2021 - Article

Have you divorced abroad? You may need to have this divorce recognized in Germany first.

Divorce outside the EU

Why do I need my divorce recognised?

Regardless of where the marriage was entered into and whether you are already married again, any divorce carried out outside the EU must first be recognised in Germany so that it also has effect under German law.

A marriage only resolved abroad is still considered to exist, i.e. until the foreign divorce is recognised in Germany, the spouses are listed as married in the German civil registers or registration registers. A new marriage or registration of a marriage in Germany would therefore not be possible because of the ban on double marriage. In addition to the need for divorce recognition when getting remarried, a divorce must also be recognised in order to avoid later problems relating to names and civil status for yourself and your descendants. Children born after a divorce could also be considered to be marital children of the former husband unless the divorce is recognised under German law.

Exception home country decision:

A divorce that has been granted outside the EU does not need to be formally recognized if:

1. both spouses are only citizens of the same state


2. The divorce was granted in the home country of the two spouses.

Example: If an only-Brazilian woman was divorced from an only-Brazilian man in Brazil, the divorce does not have to be officially recognized in Germany.

How do I apply for divorce recognition?

You must apply for divorce recognition from the responsible state judicial authority. Responsibility is based on the habitual residence of one of the former spouses. You must therefore send the application to the state judicial authority of your place of residence. If none of the former spouses is resident in Germany, the application must be sent to the Senate Department for Justice, Consumer Protection and Anti-Discrimination in Berlin.

The State Justice Administration fee is based on your income.

If your divorce has been pronounced outside the EU and you have further questions regarding the procedure, you can contact us by email at info@dublin.diplo.de.

Divorce within the EU (except Denmark)

Foreign decisions in matrimonial matters are recognized automatically in the Federal Republic of Germany, i.e. without carrying out a special recognition procedure, if the conditions according to Art. 21 of Council Regulation (EC) 2201/2003 of November 27, 2003 are met:

  • The marriage has been dissolved or annulled by the competent court of a member state of the European Union (except Denmark) and
  • The judicial procedure for divorce or marriage annulment started after March 1st, 2001 and legally ended before March 1st, 2005, or
  • The judicial procedure for divorce or marriage annulment started after March 1st 2005 or after the accession of a member state at a later date.
  • If the procedure was initiated after March 1, 2001, but the decision was only taken after March 1, 2005, it can be recognized under certain conditions in accordance with the aforementioned regulation.
  • There must be no grounds for exclusion under Article 22 of the Regulation.

To immediately recognize the decision in matrimonial matters given by a court of an EU member state, only a copy of the court decision and a certificate according to Annex I to Article 39 of EC Regulation 2201/2003 on matrimonial decisions must be submitted.

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