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International Family Law

The leading authority on international family law

22 MAY 2012

Germany - Sole custody of the unmarried mother in Germany – when does the legislation change?

Dr Kerstin Niethammer-Jürgens

According to s 1626a of the German Civil Code (BGB) sole custody is automatically awarded to the mother unless the child is either born to married parents, the parents get married after the child's birth, or both parents declare their intention to exercise joint custody.

There is no regulation that automatically awards sole custody to the father.

The regulation in s 1626a of the BGB strengthens the position of an unmarried mother: Without her consent there will be no decision for joint custody with the child's father, she is not married to. Her declarations to accept both sole and joint custody have to be expressed by herself; they cannot be substituted by declarations of a legal representative or guardian or by court decision.

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