The separation from my then wife in 2006 tore a deep chasm in our family life. I was the one who left the apartment we shared and looked for my own apartment not too far away. Back then, our children had to cope with the fact that their dad no longer came home after work the way he usually did. And they also spent the weekends or holidays either with their mother or with their father, but no longer with their parents.

It was a difficult and challenging time for all of us. Apart from very practical problems, the emotional burden was extremely high. But my wife and I managed to be reasonably fair with one another and not burden our children with our disagreements, which were not always constructive. …

A few days before my children moved from Munich to Hamburg in July 2011, we made a deal: we will phone every Tuesday and Friday evening. My children agreed to it, even if I felt it was only for my sake. Because it was actually my wish - or rather my desire - to agree on this regularity. At the time, my fear of losing touch with my children was far too great.

But this agreement helped me to say goodbye to my children on the day of their departure and to wave after them without being in tears. …

The separation or divorce of parents often makes it difficult for a child to maintain regular and intensive contact with mother and father. The separation of table and bed is often also a separation of the child from the father.

If the parents live relatively close together and the child can visit both parents independently, then the alternation model is a way for all family members to maintain contact with one another. However, there is no separated father with the alternation model, so this should not be the subject of this article.

The alternative to the alternation model is the residence model. The child has the center of his life with one parent, the other parent has the right to visit in order to maintain regular contact with the child. …

Before you read on, I would like to emphasize that this article only describes my personal view on the topics mentioned. In the course of many years as a separated father and as a result of the diverse experiences that I have been able to gain in the meantime, an opinion on the legal aspects has formed in me, which does not claim to be complete or legally binding. You can get binding and detailed information on your individual situation from a specialist lawyer or from the youth welfare office.

In connection with the separation and divorce of parents, certain terms from German family law or other areas of law appear again and again, which I would like to briefly explain here. On the internet you will find an immense variety of additional sources of information for every keyword. …


Christian Peter Niklis

850 kilometers are no big deal if you go on vacation, but they surely are if you miss your children. Stories from a German father. (

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