International Family and Inheritance Law

The Law Firm Kirsch is specialized in International Family Law. This includes European Family Law and the Family Law of the United States and Canada. We helped numerous clients in complex cross-border cases. These cases are the most complicated (a US scholar once used the term “San Andreas fault of Family Law”) as two or more jurisdictions could determine the outcome of the case. In most of the cases there is no “golden path” but a lot of possible “roads” – there are language barriers and sometimes the clients have to deal with unexperienced judges – International Family is indeed complicated. We love the challenge of finding the optimal strategy for your case.

Questions? Just give us a call or write us an email (International Family Law: hanke@ra-kirsch.de).

Here some basics about International Family Law:

1. European Family Law

During recent years the EU attempted to harmonise European Family Law. On July 17th 2006 the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation concerning applicable law in matrimonial matters, so called ROME III. The ROME III Regulation was never enacted. The European Commission then tried to establish a legal model, called “Enhanced cooperation” pursuant to Art. 20 EUV, a coalition of several member states of the EU, willing to work together in matters of the failed ROME III Regulation.

Today, every member state of the European Union has its own Family Law System. There is still a huge disparity between Continental and Common Law systems and between the legal systems of “Continental Europe”.

Cross-border cases are increasing. The first question almost always should be: which is the applicable law and what is the competent forum? We help you choosing the right forum and understand the applicable law. We offer consultation with respect to the applicable law (including consultation about the advantages and drawbacks of the legal systems which come into consideration) and help you connecting with foreign legal experts. The law firm Kirsch provides full legal services, including litigation, in cases where German law is applicable.

2. Family Law of the United States

The law firm Kirsch also provides consultation with regard to legal matters of U.S. Family Law. Attorney Andreas Hanke has worked on more than a hundred US/German cross border family cases and has helped clients both in Germany and the US solving complex family disputes. US Family Law is quite different to German Family Law as it is part of the common law system – whereas German law is part of the Civil Law system. German law is codified – US Family Law is a shaped by case law and by statutes. German Family Law is Federal Law, US Family Law is State Law. German courts are not able to “create” their own court rules, the US courts are able to establish local rules. A lot of differences…and a lot of opportunities!