Private: Family

Our specialists in the field of family law give advice to both partners together and represent you with a view to conflict resolution and conflict prevention, respectively, to shape your future in a reliable and calculable manner. In doing so, we take your desires and personal ideas seriously and we will try to achieve them through conflict resolving collaborative practice. In this regard, we are well aware that clients with family law-related problems (child support, alimony, old age pension rights adjustment (care dependency grants adjustment), dissolution of the matrimonial property scheme, arrangement of the other proprietary positions between the spouses) typically do not wish to wage a divorce battle against their former partner but, depending on the possibilities, wish to arrive at an economically acceptable solution through an agreement outside Family Court.

Dr. Christop Jacobi

However, we also represent you in proceedings before the court if extrajudicial methods of conflict resolution have not yielded an agreement.

Both with respect to extrajudicial conflict resolution and proceedings in court our special expertise lies in the area of the tax law-related consequences of the family law-related agreements and, resulting from that, with proper creative advice in contracts being concluded between spouses to avoid effects that are disadvantageous from a tax point of view and/or to achieve tax optimization. The wide range of tax advice covers all sorts of taxes, from questions about property transfer tax in the case of real estate transfers between spouses to the consequences of involving business assets in the agreements between spouses, and not to forget questions about when and under what conditions payments between spouses can be claimed as income-related expenses and/or operating expenses or extraordinary expenses and whether there is tax liability on the part of the payee with respect to the revenues. From our perspective, it is only natural that we also work closely with the tax consultants of our clients.

In addition, we have special expertise with respect to international cases since mandates relating to family law with international aspects are always gaining importance in our border region. There is an international aspect at play if one of both spouses has a different nationality, has lived or lives abroad, if there is property located abroad, if children live abroad or even have been kidnapped and taken abroad. In such cases we examine and determine whether the proceedings have to be instigated domestically or abroad, what law applies and what the consequences are. We have a great deal and many years of experience with international cases and can also handle mandates in English, French, Spanish and Dutch.

Before initiating divorce proceedings, our specialists can advise you extensively on the conditions and consequences of a divorce to ensure that you are sufficiently informed about tax and financial consequences before you decide whether or not to file a petition for divorce.

Since (in Germany) a marriage can only be dissolved by a judge and only a lawyer can file a petition for divorce, we represent our clients in divorce proceedings. In doing so, if at all possible and if desired by the client, we already try to sort out the economic and financial consequences of a divorce in a conflict-resolving manner before applying for the judicial procedure. In practice, this goes as follows: Even before a petition for divorce is filed, means of extrajudicial conflict resolution (negotiations between lawyers, mediation, collaborative practice) are used to negotiate a so-called ‘Scheidungsfolgenvereinbarung’ [agreement on the consequences of divorce] which stipulates how much child support or alimony has to be paid and over what periods, how the matrimonial property will be liquidated (under German law, also how much one spouse pays to the other in gain compensation or whether no gain compensation had to be paid; under foreign matrimonial property schemes often also how property assets have to be divided), how the adjustment of old age pension rights has to be handled by the Family Court in case of divorce and what other financial arrangements are made between the spouses (particularly in relation to tax aspects).

For married couples and partners with a registered civil partnership, contracts are a good way of laying down property and support issues for the future. But a contractual arrangement is also recommended for cohabitations similar to marriage since the law typically does not protect claims for support, property compensation and household effects. Contracts are also useful for future married couples as they can avoid discussions and unexpected consequences in the event of separation.

A divorce does not automatically lead to a decision about parental custody of the children. One tends to maintain joint child custody. We advise and offer support regarding any questions relating to parental custody and the organization of the care for children after a separation.

The arrangement for claims for support often has an existential meaning for both the person required to pay support and the recipient of support. We see to it that the claims for partner, parent or child support are calculated correctly. As far as foreign support law is concerned, we calculate the claims for support ourselves or have cooperation partners abroad do that for us.

We support you in the necessary division of household effects and community property. We ensure that the gain compensation is calculated correctly and/or supervise the division of any foreign matrimonial property, as well as the division of joint interests in companies or real estate, medical practices or offices of liberal professionals. In this regard, our special tax expertise comes in very handy as we are able to offer you the necessary one-stop support also from a tax perspective. But even if, in the end, there are “only” debts left from a marriage, we will try to arrive at a reasonable distribution of the charges in the interest of our client. If need be, we will also contact the creditors to obtain facilities for payment.

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