Unlike when getting married, it is not necessary for both parties to say “I do” to a divorce. In fact, it may even be possible to obtain a divorce in cases where the married couple have been separated for less than three years.
Unfortunately, it is not always possible for the end of a marriage to be concluded by mutual agreement. German family law allows for the possibility of divorce despite this going against the wishes of one of the spouses, if the couple have been separated for at least three years. And if this is not soon enough for the initiating party, it is potentially possible to expedite the process and to obtain a divorce after just one year of separation, notes commercial law firm MTR Legal Rechtsanwälte, whose practice includes family law.
If an amicable divorce is out of reach, a family court needs to determine whether the marriage has broken down and there is no longer any prospect of the spouses reconciling. While this is often only assumed to be the case once the couple have been separated for at least three years, it is possible under certain circumstances to obtain a divorce after just one year of separation if the party seeking this outcome has good arguments and is able to convince the family court that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. A case for why it is no longer reasonable to continue the marriage, e.g., a new partner has come into the picture, needs to be set out in detail.
Ultimately, it is for the family court to decide whether the marriage has broken down. However, in order for the court to respond affirmatively, it is necessary for the couple to have already been separated for at least one year. This requires more than just a strict legal separation; there also needs to be a clear financial separation, and the couple must no longer be jointly paying for their living expenses. After one year of separation, either of the spouses can file a petition for divorce even if their partner does not approve. It is important to note that, in doing so, the petitioner must make it clear that he or she is not prepared to continue the marriage under any circumstances.
In cases of particular hardship, it is even possible to dispense with the requirement for the couple to have been separated for one year.
MTR Legal Rechtsanwälte advises on all matters pertaining to separation and divorce.
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