Monthly Archives: August 2015

24 Reasons that 50% of divorced fathers in Germany never see their kids again

24 German Laws and Family Law Practices leading to the fact that half the fathers in Germany never see their kids again after the parents split up.

  1. Until 2013, the law did not allow fathers of children born out of wedlock to petition the court for joint or sole custody if the mother did not want this.
  2. 35% of all children born in 2013 were born out of wedlock. In East Germany that number is over 60%.
  3. Since this change in the law in 2013, only a handful of appeals court decisions have upheld custody decisions for the father against the mother’s will.
  4. Until 2013, if a child was born to married parents, but the biological father was someone else, the biological father had no right to go to court to get visitation rights or even be allowed to prove he was the biological father.
  5. Until 1970, a medical test to establish the father’s paternity could be denied simply by another man claiming without a test that he could be the father.
  6. Until 1970, a father of a child born out of wedlock could be forced to pay child support, but given no rights to see the child or even be legally declared the father. This gave rise to the term Zahlvaterschaft (paying only fatherhood).
  7. Until 1970, a mother could simply refuse to let the father of a child born out of wedlock see his child and no court could change this.
  8. Until 1998, joint legal custody after divorce was not allowed, and in the case of a child born out of wedlock, only possible if the mother agreed to it.

Still to this day:

  1. The law states that lawyers are only entitled to roughly $700 compensation for an entire custody case. A handful of lawyers in Germany can get their clients to agree to paying standard legal hourly rates. Consequently very few custody cases are handled by lawyers who have invested the time to learn this legal area well and/or will spend the time necessary to do such a case (which normally would be 100+ hours if the father wants to win).
  2. There is no penalty for lying in family court proceedings or in written filings.
  3. There is no court transcript in hearings.
  4. Nothing is made public about custody and visitation cases.
  5. Court decisions on emergency motions are not appealable (this law is currently being challenged at the Supreme Court by my constitutional lawyer).
  6. The average time a judge spends on a case in its entirety is 3 hours.
  7. The requirement to be a judge is only that they passed tests on the law. Most judges are in their early to mid-twenties when they first become a judge. There are no requirements that they have previously practiced law as a lawyer, no masters or professional doctorate in law, no recommendations by a legal association or government officials.
  8. The department of child services is required to participate in all custody and visitation cases. There is no appeal or court process to regulate this department’s actions.
  9. At any point in time, each employee in this department must handle hundreds of cases.
  10. In Gottingen where my children live, this department lacks the address of the 90% of the fathers of the cases they handle. This lack of contact information for the father is true even though federal law requires every resident in Germany to immediately update the government with any address changes and the fact that any government department can request up-to-date addresses on any resident.
  11. Lower court judges can ignore orders by higher courts, even ones specifically ordering them to change their decision.
  12. Less than .01% of judge recusal motions are granted.
  13. You cannot call your own witnesses except in the rare occasions where the judge allows it.
  14. There is no cross-examination in hearings. This is considered impolite.
  15. Guardian Ad Litems require no specific training. Sitting in a 1 day class is sufficient qualifications. (In Washington State they must have a PhD in psychology.) Their appointment cannot be challenged.
  16. Court experts are appointed by the court, though they are rarely appointed. There are no specific qualifications required and rarely are psychological reports done by psychologists. Also, you do not need a PhD to be a psychologist (like you are in the US).

Moved back to the US

After the court only glanced at and then refused sole custody petition for my daughter who had asked to live me, I waited for the results of my sole custody petition for my son, who has serious neurological, emotional and education problems that were being denied or poorly treated by his mother. When it became clear the court would deny this petition too and his mother would continue doing little to nothing about my son’s condition, I decided to return to the US where I can make 3-10 times what I earned in Germany in order to finance a solution for my children.

As a result, both mothers blocked all contact to my kids (even phone calls) and the courts first looked the other way and then gave them permission to continue this travesty.

A video about my extremely brief contact with my kids is here:

A fundraiser for my legal fund is here