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Hardship Divorce - When Can You Expedite Divorce?

Sometimes the awakening is particularly nasty: the person whom one's love was meant suddenly becomes unbearable because of an incident. Many questions then arise: When can a particular hardship be justified? Because the hardship decision saves those affected the year of separation.

The most important things in a nutshell: hardship divorce

  • Basically is a "Quick" divorce - Also "lightning divorce" or divorce in an urgent procedure - without a year of separation for the amicable or without a three-year separation period for the disputed divorce not possible.
  • An immediate divorce without a separation phase can only take place in exceptional cases. The prerequisite for this is that the continuation of the marriage for the applicant is a unreasonable hardship which is justified in the person of the other spouse (Section 1565 (2) of the German Civil Code (BGB)).
  • However, family law sets the requirements for a hardship divorce High demands.
  • In addition, the applicant must explain and prove the reasons for the hardship decision.

You will find detailed information on hardship decisions below.

What can justify the hardship case?

Further information can be found here:

Lightning divorceDivorce in an urgent procedureViolence in the marriageMental violence in the marriageHardness case regulationSeparation year in case of hardship

In the case of a hardship divorce, the marriage can be divorced immediately compared to other divorces. A specific separation time is not necessary here.

The case law sets high hurdles

Even with the hardship decision, the marriage must have failed, i.e. from no restoration of the no longer existing cohabitation of the spouses can be expected (§ 1565 Abs. 1 BGB).

While the other three cases of divorce (consensual or controversial divorce after one year of separation and contested divorce after three years of separation) each require a separation phase, the breakdown of the marriage due to a hardship case can therefore divorced immediately become.

Hardship decision: which reasons must be present - and which are insufficient

However, it is decisive for the question of whether there is a hardship case not the subjective feeling of the divorcing spouse. The fact that one spouse may behave very unkind or have committed a sexual misstep is certainly deeply hurtful for the other spouse. But this primarily affects his personal feelings and is not necessarily an unreasonable hardship based on the person of the other spouse.


Rather, the criterion is whether a level-headed third person with a calm consideration of all circumstances of the individual case the behavior of the other spouse is also an unreasonable burden would feel that - colloquially - a "Hardship regulation" and a immediate separation justifies.

The reason for a hardship provision must be serious and lie in the person of the other spouse, e.g. personal characteristics or illness.

The reasons for the hardship decision can also only be made at the same time after the failure of the marriage occurred, i.e. during the phase of separation in which the spouses are already separated from each other. Likewise, the other spouse must explain the reasons for the unreasonable hardship not in debt have so that too its personal characteristics could form the basis for an immediate divorce.

Since the family courts are very reluctant to divorce hardship, the hardship reasons must particularly serious and just now in the person of the other spouse lie. Examples here are about:

  • Alcohol abuse under denial or repeated failure of withdrawal treatments
  • Insults and abuse of the spouse continuously in Presence of the children
  • Insults, threats and mistreatment of the most serious kind and especially in the presence of children
  • Substance abuse over several years and in the presence of the children
  • Adulterous relationship with resulting pregnancy
  • Marriage to obtain a residence permit
  • Nervous diseasethat was not known before the marriage
  • Death threats towards the spouse
  • prostitutionthat is exercised after the breakup
  • Attempted suicidefor which the spouse was not a contributory factor
  • Sexual perversionsas requested by the other spouse
  • Offenses towards the spouse
  • Rape of the spouseafter he has broken off contact or broken up and does not return to the spouse

Only these and similar marital problems and separation justify a divorce in the event of hardship.

Carelessness in the household, jealousy and a one-off physical attack do not apply as reasons for an immediate divorce.

No reasons for the hardship case, on the other hand, form one according to family law Careless housekeeping, unfounded scenes of jealousy and a one-time, affectively committed physical attack on the spouse. It is more difficult with adultery. A divorce because of unreasonable hardship comes due to the change in social attitudes only if there are further, substantial reasons into consideration. This also applies to Breach of duty in maintenance or the Establishing a same-sex relationship.


A distinction must also be made between the cases in which one Marriage annulled or annulled is like that "Divorce" of a marriage of convenience, of which the spouses knew at the time of the marriage that indeed no marital partnership established should be.

How the hardship decision is made - and why it doesn't always make sense

If you want to get a divorce immediately due to hardship reasons, you have to do so Explain the reasons in the divorce petition and for their presence Offer evidence, for example through testimony, documents such as medical certificates or other evidence. This means first of all that a hardship decision can only be made chance of success if the hardship can actually be proven. If the other spouse still denies that these reasons actually exist, the family court must regularly refer to a Carry out taking evidencein which, for example, the witnesses are heard. Under certain circumstances, however, the divorce process is dragged out so much that it is not significantly shorter than a (contentious) divorce with a year of separation.

In order to be able to carry out a hardship decision, evidence of the hardship case must be available. This can be testimony or a medical certificate.

The Pension equalization If this is mandatory, it takes time basically four to six monthsuntil the information to be obtained by the court from the pension funds is available. A Separation of the pension equalizationSo that this is decided later in another procedure and the marriage is immediately divorced, the courts often reject it or the required procedure fails Consent of the other spouse.


And finally with Pension equalization one more tactical consideration to consider: Because the Marriage time for compensation is the time from the first day of the month in which the marriage was concluded to the last day of the month before the divorce petition was served (Section 2 (3) VersAusglG).

Now includes the husband as an employee high salary if the wife has substantial additional company insurance and no income is earned, in the event of a divorce her later pension increases the longer the marriage lasts. Therefore, it may be useful instead of an immediate hardship decision Divorce proceedings with separation phase carry out or submit the divorce petition later.

Conversely, the application for divorce from the husband who is affected by hardship should in such a case particularly fast be asked. In practice it is but mostly only about relatively low pension entitlementsthat are “additionally” acquired or lost in this way.

As a result, a hardship decision is only recommended if ...
  • ... there are actual reasons for a hardship case, that too in the person of the other spouse are justified.
  • … these reasons set out, proven and cannot be refuted by the other spouse.
  • no pension adjustment (e.g. on the basis of a notarial agreement).
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Hardship Divorce - When Can You Expedite Divorce?
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