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Parental Rights in Germany: What Immigrant Parents Need to Know

Parental rights of immigrants in Germany. Divorce is tough for everyone involved, and deciding who gets custody of the kids makes it even harder. For immigrants in Germany, sorting out parental rights after divorce can be extra tough. So, what rights do immigrant parents have when it comes to taking care of their kids after splitting up? Here’s what you should know.

Parental rights of Immigrants in Germany

In Germany, immigrant parents’ rights are handled in a way that doesn’t consider their citizenship when deciding on shared custody of their child. However, issues like custody and where the child will live might take into account factors like the parents’ permanent residence or German citizenship.
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Can those with joint custody leave Germany with their children?

To put it simply, it’s a complex matter. Parents sharing custody must agree on the child’s residence, whether it’s for a vacation or a permanent move. However, if both parents consider holiday trips as “everyday decisions,” then consent from the other parent might not be required.

Make sure to document the agreement in writing to safeguard yourself in case of any disagreements later on. Additionally, it’s important to note that if a child is traveling abroad with only one parent, written consent from the other parent is required. This rule applies to married couples as well.

Can you move permanently abroad with your child?

Yes, that’s correct. If both parents agree, then there’s no issue. However, if one parent disagrees with the move, the parent wanting to relocate with the child would need a court order from the Family Court. Otherwise, if a parent has sole custody or the legal right to decide the child’s residence, they can take the child abroad without the other parent’s consent.

German law treats moving abroad and moving to another state within Germany similarly. While it’s often permitted for a parent to relocate with their child, it’s crucial to note that moving abroad without the other parent’s consent is viewed as child abduction. This is a serious offense and can lead to a prison sentence of up to five years or a fine.
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How are immigrant parents treated when they no longer care for their children?

Immigrants in Germany require a residence permit to reside legally. However, if a parent holds a residence permit due to having children with German citizenship or another German residence permit, they won’t necessarily be required to leave immediately if they lose custody of the child. In such cases, the immigration office considers the child’s welfare when determining whether to extend the parents’ residence permit.

This care may include:

  • Seeing your child. 
  • Paying child support.
  • Proving that there is a relationship between parent and child. 
  • If the office suspects that the parent does not meet these requirements, the immigrant may lose the right to reside in the country.