Recognition of divorce in Germany


General information

General information about divorce proceedings as well as recognition of a foreign divorce decree can be found here.

Please read the information carefully to determine whether your foreign divorce decree has to be formally recognized by a German court in order to be valid in Germany.

Which authority decides on the recognition of divorce?

The competent authority for recognition of divorce is the administration of justice (Justizverwaltung)/ Higher Regional Court (Obelandesgericht) of the “Bundesland” in which one of the spouses has a domicile. If none of the spouses has a domicile in Germany, the competent authority is the administration of justice (Justizverwaltung) of the federal state in which one of the spouses intends to marry again. If neither a domicile in Germany exists nor a new marriage in Germany is intended, the Senatsverwaltung für Justiz in Berlin (Senatsverwaltung für Justiz, Verbraucherschutz und Antidiskriminierung, Salzburger Str. 21-25, 10825 Berlin) is the competent authority.

How do I lodge an application?

You will in general have to provide the following documents:

  • application form (see below), filled in legibly by computer or with block letters
  • copy of marriage certificate
  • original or certified copy of divorce decree (see below).
  • copy of current (German) passport
  • proof of income (for calculations of fees, see below)

The competent Justizverwaltung might ask for further documents and/or a translation of English documents or an Apostille.

If the Senatsverwaltung für Justiz Berlin is the competent authority, you can lodge the application directly with above-mentioned documents. It is not necessary to get your signature certified on the application form by the German missions.

In all other cases, please ask the responsible authority which documents are necessary and in which form they have to be provided.

Informationen about Australian divorce decrees

Australia has had different divorce decrees in the past. Not all of them are recognized in Germany!

Decree Nisi/Absolute

All divorce decrees issued until 01.07.2002. A 'decree nisi' is a provisional divorce decree that became valid after some time ('decree absolute'). A 'decree absolute' is recognized in Germany.

Certificate of Divorce

'Certificates of divorce' were issued between July 2002 and 12.02.2010. 'Certificates of divorce' are not recognized in Germany!

If you only have a 'certificate of divorce', you have to get a 'divorce order' from the Family Law Court (see below).

Divorce Order

'Divorce orders' have been issued since 13.02.2010. Please note that the electronic version is not sufficient for a recognition of divorce. If you only have an electronic version, you have to get it authenticated by the issueing court.

How to get a “Divorce Order”?

You can get the 'divorce order' from the Family Law Court - also a posteriori. This also includes divorces before the 01.07.2002!

Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia - request proof of divorce

In case you have been sent a 'certificate of divorce' instead of the 'divorce order', please send it back and request the 'divorce order'.


The fee for recognition of divorce is calculated on basis of your monthly income. Therefore, it is important to add some proof of income (pay slip, tax statement) as otherwise the maximum fee can be charged. Fees can be from 15 to 305 EUR. Usually the fee ranges at around 160 EUR.

How long does it take?

Please note that we cannot predict how long this process will take. The processing times may vary considerably depending on the complexity of the case and the individual authority and might take several months.

Application form and data protection information

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