If there is a crisis in the marriage and a separation is imminent, a tailored and early consultation is very important. In principle, a spouse can only apply for a divorce after having lived apart for a full year. In the separation year, the course for the future of each spouse must be set for the time after the marriage.

In any case, a marriage contract should be checked by an experienced lawyer in family matters to see whether it still fits the current life situation. If the partners do not have a marriage contract, legal advice is even more important. Each of the spouses must know what to do before a separation and how to prepare for the separation and a later divorce.

I recommend the following separation checklist:

  • Keep your own documents safe:
  • Copies of bank statements, savings accounts, stock portfolios, etc.
  • Copies of insurance policies
  • Copies of salary statements, balance sheets, revenue-surplus account
  • Copies of pension notices, company pension schemes, produce birth certificates, marriage certificates, identity cards

Provide a precise overview of the financial situation of the spouse and keep this information in a safe place, outside the marital home
Termination of joint accounts or revocation of existing bank authorisations
Regulate with the spouse who moves out of the shared flat/house and when, and how long the person who does not move out will stay there?
What should happen to the property in case of a divorce?
How is the household contents divided? Are there any personal belongings that belong to one spouse alone?
If there are children: Where should the children live (residence model, change model, nest model)?
If the children are to live with one parent, how much child support is paid by the parent with whom the children do not live permanently?

Round Table

We rightly talk about these topics in our Round Table meetings. The Round Table is an action of Herfurth & Partner and serves to clarify and secure wishes and decisions in the family in connection with assets, provision and succession.

The next dates can be found in the Round Table section (welcome homepage).


Further information on many topics can be found in the Publications section (welcome homepage).

Your counsellor

Angelika Herfurth

Attorney at law and specialist lawyer for family law

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