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Germany

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Germany

1. International Family Mediation

Family mediation, in Germany, is legally recognised, commonly implemented and encouraged by the State. The German Mediation Act of 2011 promotes the recourse to mediation and other amicable modes of dispute resolution.

International family mediation service is provided by MiKK e.V., International Mediation Centre for Family Conflict and Child Abduction, which is a Berlin-based non-governmental organisation offering parents a free-of-charge multi-lingual (English, German, Polish, Italian, French) advice and information service on all issues surrounding mediation in cross-border custody disputes, contact issues and international parental child abduction. MiKK conducts a pre-mediation service and organises mediations for parents by referring them to the MiKK mediators’ network of over 150 international, multi-lingual mediators.

In addition, ZAnK is the central contact point for cross-border family conflicts and mediation. They inform and refer parents to family mediators specialising in cross-border conflicts and situations of child abduction (to Hague and Non-Hague countries).

1) Germany is a Party to the 1980 Hague Convention.

The 1980 Hague Convention: a multilateral treaty which provides procedural guidelines on the return of children and their protection in cases of international parental child abduction.

Contact the Central Authority established in Germany for cases of child abduction.

2) Germany is a Party to the 1996 Hague Convention.

The 1996 Hague Convention: a multilateral treaty which determines jurisdiction, applicable law, co-operation in respect of parental responsibility and access rights, as well as civil and public measures for the protection or care of children. 

Contact the Central Authority established in Germany for cases of dispute concerning cross-border parental responsibilities and rights of contact with children.

3) Germany is a Party to the Brussels IIA Regulation.

Brussels IIA: a legal instrument of the European Union to help resolve family disputes involving more than one country, over divorce, all parental responsibilities and, in particular, the custody of children. Brussels IIA is a regulation applicable to all European Union Member states (except Denmark). The regulation prevails over the 1996 Hague Convention in cases where the child’s habitual residence is within a European Union Member state (except Denmark). Please be aware that if a decision on access and/or custody rights is taken by a court from the European Union, the regulation foresees that a State Party to the 1996 Hague Convention must recognise the court decision.

Contact the Central Authority established in Germany designated under the 1996 Hague Convention for cases of dispute concerning cross-border parental responsibilities and rights of contact with children.

You can determine whether countries relevant to your case are Parties, or not, to the 1980 Hague Convention on International Child Abduction, the 1996 Hague Convention on Child Protection and/or Brussels IIA (except Denmark) in order to locate the appropriate central authority. As for the 1980 Hague Convention, you can check whether the Convention is in force between two specific States in the Spreadsheet showing acceptances of accessions to the Child Abduction Convention.

The German branch of International Social Service (ISS German Branch, ISD) assists families facing conflicts across borders. ISD offers advice and support in each individual case. When necessary, they refer to more relevant desks or services.

ISD also hosts ZAnK, the Central Contact Point for Cross-border Family Conflicts and Mediation, where all actors involved in cross-border family cases (parents, staff members of youth welfare offices, judges, and lawyers) may ask for information and support.

Diakonie Germany is the social welfare organisation of Germany’s Protestant churches. They provide help to children and families, to people with disabilities or illness. Diakonie Germany offers a wide range of support, including practical aid and legal representation (e.g. family counselling and support, parenting courses). Please find a Diakonie’s office in your town here (website is in German).

4. Child Welfare Services

The German Youth Welfare Offices (in German: Jugendamt) offer support to parents for the education, care and upbringing of children and young people. Please search here for the Youth Welfare Office in your area. In addition, this website Das Jugendamt provides information about their services in German (with publications to download in German, Turkish, English, French, Russian and Arabic).

The website of “Missing Children Europe” provides helpful information and a List of all organisations around Europe working in the realm of child disappearances.

SOS Children’s Villages in Germany provide family counselling through its 16 Counselling Centers as well as through its Children and Youth Help Centers to offer support to young people in the difficult situations (website is in German).

The German Caritas Association is welfare association with headquarters in Freiburg and branch offices in Berlin and Brussels. They provide support during and after disasters, as well as social programmes for disadvantaged children, people with disabilities, elderly people and for the empowerment of women. You can contact the association directly here.

5. Support to Bi-national Couples, Cross-cultural and Migrant Families

The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees provides useful information for families who moved to Germany. Advice Centres are located throughout the country, you can find the one in your area here.

The Association of Binational Families and Partnerships (iaf e.V.) operates for the interests of binational and multinational families and partnerships (website is in German). They offer advice and guidance towards services and contact representatives of social and educational policy. You can find a regional office in your town here.

The German Caritas Association is welfare association with headquarters in Freiburg and branch offices in Berlin and Brussels. The association provides support for relief and rehabilitation work during and after disasters, support of social programmes for people who have emigrated from other countries. The association offers its services in day centres (outpatient / open) and residential care centres. You can directly contact the Association here.

Diakonie Germany is the social welfare organisation of Germany’s Protestant churches. They provide help to children and families, to migrants and their families. Diakonie Germany offers a wide range of support, including practical aid and legal representation (e.g. information and consultation for migrants, specialised services for asylum seekers and refugees). You can find dormitories and transitional homes for refugees, meeting places for migrants and refugees and advice centres for refugees in your area (website is in German).

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