Filing for divorce

Would you like to divorce your spouse? Then consider the requirements for filing for divorce.

A marriage can be divorced regardless of the fault of a spouse if it has failed. This is the case when the marital cohabitation no longer exists and a restoration is no longer to be expected.

Divorce proceedings are only possible with legal representation. In the case of an amicable divorce, it is sufficient for one spouse to appoint a lawyer. If the spouses do not agree on the divorce and/or its subsequent matters (maintenance, custody, etc.), both should be represented by a lawyer.

  • Application or petition for divorce (filed by a lawyer )
  • Photo
  • Marriage certificate in the original or in certified copy
  • Birth certificates of your minor children in the original or in certified copy

Your lawyer may need further documentation from you . Comprehensive legal advice is therefore recommended .


The marriage has failed if the cohabitation of the spouses no longer exists and it cannot be expected that the spouses will restore it. This is irrefutably presumed if:

  • the spouses have been separated for one year and both spouses apply for divorce or the other spouse agrees to the divorce,
  • the spouses have been living separately for three years.

In addition, the court may divorce the marriage regardless of the duration of the separation if the continuation of the marriage would constitute unreasonable hardship for the applicant for reasons relating to the person of the other spouse.

Exceptions are possible under certain circumstances.


In the run-up to and as a prerequisite for a divorce, various matters must be settled and deadlines observed. It makes sense to seek advice from a lawyer.

If you lack the necessary financial resources for legal advice or, if necessary, a lawsuit, then an application for legal aid or legal aid to the competent district court is recommended.

  • Legal aid

Related Links

  • §§1564 ff. Civil Code (BGB)
  • § 133 et seq. act on proceedings in family matters and in matters of voluntary jurisdiction (FamFG)
  • § 43 Act on Court Costs in Family Matters (FamGKG)

Legal advice and determination of the divorce application

  1. Choose a lawyer (if necessary, request from the Bar Association or application for legal aid )
  2. Get legal advice from your respective lawyer
  3. Grant the lawyer power of attorney ( will be prepared by him/ her )
  4. The lawyer will send you a draft divorce petition that you must confirm
  5. Now your lawyer or the court requires an advance on court costs and , if necessary, the advance for the lawyer's fee that you have to transfer

In court

  1. Upon receipt of payment , the lawyer submits the divorce application to the competent family court .
  2. The court sends your spouse the divorce petition and gives him or her the opportunity to comment .
  3. As a rule, the court sends questionnaires to both spouses in order to determine the compensation for pensions, such as entitlements to pensions or other pensions .
  4. Once the information on pension rights is available , the court will set a date for the oral hearing .
  5. Your lawyer will represent you in the proceedings, but an appearance of both spouses for a personal hearing is required .
  6. The family court makes the divorce order if it is convinced that the marriage has failed. In this context , follow-up matters such as pension compensation or custody of children are also regulated .
  7. If both spouses agree with the outcome and are represented by a lawyer, the divorce can become final immediately by a mutual waiver of appeals and cross-appeals . Otherwise, the divorce decision becomes legally binding one month after promulgation .

Responsible for the content

Last update or date of publication