1. How can we divorce in Croatia and where?
One of the spouses may request dissolution of marriage by filing a suit, and both spouses may submit a joint petition for dissolution of marriage, i.e. for uncontested, no-fault divorce.
The Municipal Court rules on the dissolution of marriage based on the residence of the parties.
2. What are the most common reasons that spouses may invoke when divorcing?
The Court will grantdissolution of marriage:
- If both spouses submit a joint petition for dissolution of marriage, i.e. uncontested, no-fault divorce,
- If it establishes that the marital relations are gravely and irreversibly damaged, or
- If one year has elapsed since the martial union ceased to exist.
The most common reason for dissolution of marriage is gravely and irreversibly damaged relations.
3. How long does it take to divorce in Croatia?
A divorce lawsuit could last somewhere between 6 months and 3 years.
In case of dissolution of marriage of spouses who have a child together, the length of a proceeding depends on how much time the parties need to reach an agreement on the legal effects of dissolution of marriage.
Namely, spouses who have a minor child together are obligated, prior to initiating the court proceedings for dissolution of marriage, to participate in mandatory counselling, during which they may reach an agreement on the following:
- Place of habitation(residence) of the child, family house or apartment which will represent a family home, manner of providing parental care and realizing personal relationship with the child
- Supporting the child.
If the parties do not reach an agreement on the above listed, the Court will make that decision, and in this case the proceedings may take longer, depending on how much time the Court needs to gather all relevant information, hear the parties to the proceedings and possibly children, and obtain an opinion from the Social Welfare Centre.
4. What types of evidence can be used when divorcing in Croatia?
The types of evidence that can be used when divorcing in Croatia are any kind of documents, both parents’ bank statements and payrolls for last three to six months, social worker reports, hearing ofparty and children, psychological assessments, witnesses, etc.
5. What other family life aspects are settled once with the divorce?
In the divorce proceedings, other aspects of family life that are settledin the process are:
- Spousal support, and
- If they have a child together:
- Place and address of the child’s habitation (residence)
- Time the child will be spending with each parent,
- Manner of exchanging information concerning giving consent, when making decisions important for the child,
- Amount of support as the obligation of a parent with whom the child does not live (non-custodial parent), and
- Manner in which the future issues concerning the child will be resolved.
6. Is my presence necessary in Croatia when divorcing?
The law does not prescribe the obligation of parties to be present at the divorce hearing, because they can have an attorney representing their interests;however, if the parties have a minor child together, and they did not reach a parenting agreement in writing regarding the manner of carrying out the mutual parental care beforehand, the Court will surely invite the parties to be heard in that respect. If a party does not respond/appear despite the Court’s invitation,the Court will deliver a decision without hearing the party.
7. What kind of temporary measures concerning children can be ordered during divorce proceedings?
During a divorce case, the court mayorder temporary measures regarding the children’s residence, the right of the spouse to keep in touch with his/her children, the obligation of one of the spouse to pay alimony.
8. How can a parent living abroad keep in touch with his child?
A parent living in another state can keep in touch with his children who live in Croatia by visiting them at their residence, by having the children over or via modern communication channels: video calls, WhatsApp calls etc.
9. In case a parent lives in another European State, is that an obstacle for joint custody?
A parent living in another EU State is not an obstacle when applying for joint custody.
10. How can a divorce resolution issued in Croatia be acknowledged in another European State?
Once the judgment on divorce is final, the parties may request the issuance of a European form that can be used in majority of EU State.
Publisher: By Baburak – Brezak – Grabas Law Office – Croatia