Germany - competent authority (Art. 44)
Ad Article 44 of the Convention (Competent courts and authorities)
aa) Competent authority pursuant to Article 33 of the Convention:
The responsibility for approving the placement of a child pursuant to Article 33 of the Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 within Germany shall be the supralocal public youth welfare authority (Land Youth Welfare Office, Landesjugendamt) in whose district the requesting authority proposes to place the child, otherwise the supralocal authority with whose area the Central Authority has identified the most substantial connection. Land Berlin shall be secondarily responsible.
bb) Authorities to which requests pursuant to Articles 8 and 9 of the Convention are to be directed:
In court proceedings relating to parental responsibility, the following Family Courts are responsible locally:
(a) While matrimonial proceedings are pending, the Family Court where the matrimonial proceedings are or were pending in the first instance has exclusive responsibility in so far as the proceedings affect the spouses' joint children.
(b) Otherwise responsibility lies with the Family Court within whose jurisdiction the child has its habitual residence.
(c) If there is no competence under (a) or (b) above, responsibility lies with the Family Court within whose area of jurisdiction the need for care becomes evident.
In cases concerning rights of access, parental authority or the surrender of children, the request may also be directed to the Family Court at the seat of the Higher Regional Court within whose area of jurisdiction the child is habitually resident if one parent has his/her habitual place of residence in another Member State of the European Union or in another Contracting State of the Hague Convention ("family court with specialist responsibility"). Family Courts with specialist responsibility specialize in international parent and child cases.
If an application for the recognition or enforcement of a decision pursuant to the Convention, Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003 or the European Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Decisions concerning Custody of Children and on Restoration of Custody of Children of 20 May 1980 or an application under the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of Inter-national Child Abduction of 25 October 1980 is or becomes pending at a German Family Court with specialist responsibility, this same Family Court becomes responsible for all proceedings relating to rights of access, parental authority or surrender of children in respect of that child.
Family Courts with specialist responsibility are
a) for the district of Berlin Higher Regional Court: Pankow/Weißensee Local Court;
b) for the districts of the Higher Regional Courts in Lower Saxony: Celle Local Court;
c) otherwise: the Local Court in whose district a Higher Regional Court is located.
The Central Authority can provide help with identifying the competent court or pass requests on to the competent court.
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