International family law

Mandates in the area of international family law are becoming increasingly important. An international connection exists, for example, if one or both spouses have a different nationality, have lived or are living abroad or assets are located abroad. An international connection also exists if a child lives abroad.

From a legal point of view, the abduction of children abroad may also create links to international family law in addition to criminal law considerations.

International family law regulates the application and jurisdiction of national legal systems and courts.
In such cases, we examine and clarify for you whether proceedings are to be conducted in Germany or abroad, which law is applicable and what the consequences are.

International marriage

In the case of an international marriage, the requirements for marriage are determined by the law of the fiancé's home country. The assessment is made at the time of the marriage.
The marriage requirements in international family law include, for example, parental consent or marriageable age. It is also often necessary to check whether there are any special obstacles to marriage. Examples of impediments to marriage may include kinship and the requirement of a marriage gift.

Marriage in Europe

International family law in Europe is based on the principle of consensual marriage, i.e. the voluntary nature of the partners and their capacity to marry.

The marriage is usually personal. In the legal systems of the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Poland, however, so-called glove marriages are also recognised. This means that the marriage can also be concluded by representatives of the bride and groom.

The basic age of marriage in most European countries is 18. France, for example, raised the age of marriage for women from 15 to 18 in 2006.

The formal requirements for marriage differ in international family law depending on the applicable law.

International divorce law

From the perspective of the German legal system on international family law, the law of the spouses' last common home country initially applies to a divorce. However, the divorce can also be governed by the law of the country in which the spouses last had their common habitual residence. Subsequently, the legal system with the closest connection to the spouses may also apply.

Consultation with our lawyers for international family law is also advisable at the time of marriage, as spouses can, for example, make a choice of law that determines which law is to apply in the event of divorce.

Maintenance law with a foreign connection

Maintenance law also occupies an important position in international family law.

One of the fundamental questions is whether the judgement of one state can claim validity in another. The applicability of agreements such as the "New York UN Convention on the Enforcement of Maintenance Claims Abroad", which does not apply in relation to the USA, for example, must be taken into account here. The recognition of a court decision from an EU member state is governed by an EU regulation.

Complex individual questions in international maintenance law are controversial, so that legal advice should always be provided by experienced lawyers in international family law. The law firm Schneider Stein & Partner can provide you with expert advice in this area.

Experience and co-operations

Our lawyers specialising in international family law have many years of experience with international cases and can also handle cases in English and Dutch. We often work together with colleagues abroad in international cases in order to guarantee comprehensive support for our clients.

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