In accordance with the general principles of constitutional and international law, court judgments and similar sovereign acts only have direct legal effect within the territory of the state in which they were passed or performed. Every state is free to determine whether and under which conditions it will recognize foreign sovereign acts, insofar as it is not bound to do so by treaty. The dissolution of a marriage is thus basically only valid in the state in which it was dissolved. In Germany a marriage dissolved abroad continues to be viewed as still in existence.
Only once the foreign judgment has been recognized by the competent German court, can the marriage be considered as truly dissolved.
If none of the parties has a place of residence in Germany, the Senate Department of Justice in Berlin (Senatsverwaltung für Justiz in Berlin) will be responsible for processing the divorce recognition.
In order to have your foreign divorce decree recognized, please print out the application form and complete it carefully.: Application form
For more information on the recognition of a divorce as well as a detailed overview on the required documents, please visit the website of the Senate Department of Justice in Berlin (German language only!): Senatsverwaltung für Justiz
If the documents to be submitted are not in German or English, a translation must be presented. Further documents may be required on an individual basis.
The Senate Department of Justice in Berlin requires the submission of certified photocopies of the supporting documents. Copies may be certified by a notary public (please see Information sheet).
Alternatively, the copies may also be certified for a fee of € 10.00 at the German missions, if the documents are submitted in original with two sets of copies. The fee can be paid in cash at the daily exchange rate in US dollars or by credit card in euros (Visa or Mastercard only). Please note that the German missions in the US have different appointment
Once the application is complete, it is forwarded to the competent court in Germany, where it will be processed.