For millions of German tourists and Germans resident abroad, the foreign missions are the most important link to Germany on all legal matters. You can find out more about the whole range of services on the following pages as well as on the websites of the German missions abroad.
The Foreign Office and the German missions abroad (embassies and consulates-general) are often asked for help when children are abducted across borders. The majority of such cases occur in the context of binational marriages or partnerships; when the relationship fails or after divorce the foreign father or mother takes one or more of their common children to his/her home country against the will of the German parent.
Sometimes, even when abroad, Germans and foreigners may need to have documents certified or signatures or manual signs, transcripts or copies authenticated. Local notaries and authorities are not always able to be of assistance if the document in question is required in Germany.
Foreign documents are often only recognised by the authorities of another state if their authenticity and evidentiary value have been confirmed by a special procedure. Procedures of international recognition have been developed to certify that documents were issued correctly by the competent agency.
Distances are diminishing as ever more networks span the globe. As globalization progresses, modern means of transport and communications technologies are bringing people closer together, a fact which is also reflected in the growing number of "international" marriages.