What do you need to pay attention to during the separation?

When you end your relationship, there will be many things on your mind. This checklist is designed to help you keep a clear head in the emotional turmoil. We have compiled the most important things for you to think about when separating – even in preparation for divorce.

The checklist consists of a general part and a special part relevant for married or partnered couples. You can also download the list here in short form as a PDF document.

Checklist (General Part)


  • Who will stay (for how long?) in the shared apartment – who will move out?
  • Also consider the interests of the children when making your decision!


  • Follow the five golden rules in dealing with children during separation and divorce.
  • With whom and where should the joint minor children have their primary residence?
  • Make arrangements for contact: Discuss who gets which contact times. Try it out for a while and see if the times work for your kids, too.
  • Where should the contact take place (taking the children and overnight stay, joint meetings outside, for example on a playground)?
  • Settle the important issues by mutual agreement if possible or get help from the youth welfare office or a mediator.
  • In principle, the following applies: The separation alone does not change the existing custody (joint custody or sole custody).


  • Look through your personal and property records and documents.
  • List your personal belongings (clothes, jewelry, etc.) and have your partner countersign the list – if they don’t take your things right away when you move out.
  • Consult with each other on the division of jointly purchased items. Pay attention to the special needs of the parent caring for the children!
  • Clarify your financial situation. If necessary, apply for ALG II, Sozialgeld, Wohngeld, Elterngeld, Kindergeld, Kindergeldzuschlag or an advance on child support.
  • If necessary, revoke (account) powers of attorney that you have granted to your partner.
  • List all (current) payment obligations (rent, insurance, etc.) and find an agreement on who will continue and pay what. Important: As a rule, jointly concluded contracts must also be terminated jointly. Therefore, the partner moving out cannot demand from the landlord to be released from the lease.


  • Adapt your will to the new situation.
  • In this context, you should also consider an inheritance contract if necessary.

Checklist (Additional points for married or partnered couples)

Separation year

  • The departure of one partner or the separation from “table and bed” within the joint home for at least one year (the so-called separation year) is a prerequisite for a divorce/cancellation of the civil partnership.
  • Document the separation date as a requirement for divorce, for example, in a letter to your partner. Write to him that you consider the relationship to be over.
  • After the end of the separation year, it is possible to apply to the court for divorce/ annulment. The application must be made by a lawyer.
  • Inform your tax advisor about your separation (because of the tax classes in case of joint assessment).

Separation maintenance

  • From the time of separation until the divorce or annulment decree becomes final, there is a claim to separation maintenance under certain conditions.
  • The determination of separation maintenance is about one’s own neediness and the partner’s ability to pay.

Health insurance

  • Clarify health insurance coverage.
  • After the end of family insurance with the divorce/ annulment decree, an application for continued insurance is possible within three months.

Marriage or partnership contract

  • Adjust a prenuptial or domestic partnership agreement to reflect changed circumstances, if necessary.
  • With a separation and divorce agreement you can make arrangements for the time after the separation.

No agreement in sight?

If you can reach agreement on the important points, this is a big step towards an amicable separation. If reaching an agreement with your partner doesn’t work, get help. You have several options for this.

With a separation and divorce mediation you can solve your conflicts around the topic of separation and divorce together and sustainably. This will save you nerves, time and money. With mediation, an amicable divorce is also possible – and a war of the roses can be avoided.

We will be happy to advise you on these topics in an orientation meeting.