1. How can we divorce in Finland and where?
In Finland, a case that concerns divorce is considered by the District Court with jurisdiction over the place where either spouse has his or her domicile or habitual residence.
Proceedings for a divorce shall be initiated by way of a petition which may be filed by both spouses jointly or one of the spouses alone. If the petition has been filed by one spouse alone, the court shall reserve the other spouse an opportunity to be heard.
2. What are the most common reasons that spouses may invoke?
The spouse(s) does not have to give any reasons for his or her or their mutual decision to divorce. No fault for the failure of marriage needs to be shown. A divorce will be granted always when a spouse or both spouses just apply for a divorce.
3. How long does it take to divorce in Finland?
The spouses shall have the right to a divorce after a reconsideration period of at least six (6) months. The reconsideration period shall begin upon the date when the joint petition of the spouses for the dissolution of the marriage is filed with the court or the petition of one spouse is served on the other spouse. After a reconsideration period of at least six (6) months, the spouses shall be granted a divorce upon their joint request or upon the request of one of the spouses. The request shall be made within one year of the beginning of the reconsideration period.
However, the spouses shall have the right to a divorce without a reconsideration period if they have lived separated for the past two years without interruption.
4. What types of evidence can be used when divorcing?
The reasons for divorce are not relevant so no evidence is needed.
5. What other family life aspects are settled once with the divorce?
In connection with proceedings relating to divorce, the spouse(s) may request an order on maintenance and child custody and right of access, an order on alimony for a child as well as make other requests pertaining to the divorce.
In proceedings relating to divorce, the court shall, upon its own initiative, consider how child custody and right of access should be arranged between the spouses, in the best interests of the child.
Upon the joint petition of the spouses or upon the petition of one of the spouses, a court may also order that the spouse who is in greater need of a residence shall have the right to continue to live in the common home and order the other spouse to vacate the common home (end of cohabitation).
6. Is my presence necessary when divorcing?
Normally divorce cases in courts are considered in writing and no presence of a spouse is needed. However, a court shall consider divorce in an oral court session if a participant requests so or wants to be heard in person.
Oral court sessions are usually arranged in proceedings relating to maintenance and child custody and right of access and an order on alimony for a child.
7. What kind of temporary measures concerning children can be ordered during divorce proceedings?
In proceedings relating to divorce or the end of cohabitation, the court may issue a temporary order on maintenance and child custody and right of access and on end of cohabitation.
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/her children who live in Finland by visiting them at their residence, by having the children over, by receiving photos of the children or via modern communication channels: video calls, WhatsApp calls etc.
9. In case a parent lives in another EU 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 Finland be acknowledged in another EU State?
The divorce granted in Finland is valid in the other EU country with the EU certificate. The certificate is issued by the competent authority.