Have foreign divorce decrees recognized

Service Description

In accordance with the general principles of state and international law, divorce decrees, official divorces and private divorces generally have direct legal effect only in the territory of the state in which they were issued. In order to be effective in the Federal Republic of Germany, these foreign decisions in matrimonial matters generally require formal recognition.

Only in exceptional cases can the foreign decision be of relevance to German law even without a formal recognition procedure. For example, divorce decrees from member states of the European Union - with the exception of Denmark - do not require recognition if the divorce proceedings were initiated after March 1, 2001 or after the member state's accession at a later date.

Moreover, a formal recognition procedure is not required if the foreign judgment was rendered by an authority of the state to which both spouses belonged exclusively (i.e. no dual nationality) at the time of the judgment (so-called home state judgment).

The decision is made only upon application. The judicial administration of the federal state in which a spouse has his or her habitual residence is generally responsible for the recognition decision. In Thuringia, these tasks are assigned to the President of the Thuringian Higher Regional Court. In addition to the spouses concerned, any person who can credibly demonstrate a legal interest in clarifying the status issue (for example, fiancées, subsequent spouses or heirs) is entitled to file an application. The pension insurance institutions also have their own right of application.

Both the recognition and non-recognition decisions of the President of the Higher Regional Court are binding on all courts and authorities in Germany, Section 107 (9) FamFG. With the recognition of the foreign divorce, the marriage is also deemed to be dissolved for the German legal sphere with retroactive effect to the date of the foreign divorce. The decision under section 107 FamFG extends exclusively to the pronouncement of the divorce (change of status from "married" to "divorced"). Any provisions made in the foreign decision on matters subsequent to divorce (for example, provisions on maintenance, custody and pension equalization) are not affected.

Source: Zuständigkeitsfinder Thüringen (Linie6PLus)

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