Divorce in Poland
1. Where do we get a divorce in Poland and how?
Individuals can divorce in Poland by lodging a petition for divorce (dissolution of the marriage) by one of the spouses. Divorce proceedings cannot be initiated either by the public prosecutor or any other person. Spouses can only divorce in the court. Actions shall be brought in a Regional Court. Actions pertaining to marital relations shall be brought exclusively in a court in whose district the spouses had their last place of residence, insofar as one of them still resides or stays there. Otherwise, exclusive jurisdiction shall be vested in the court for the respondent’s place of residence or where there is no such place, with the court for the petitioner’s place of residence.
2. What are the most common reasons that spouses may invoke?
If there has been an irretrievalbe and complete breakdown of matrimonial life between the spouses, divorce may be requested by either of the spouses to the court to order the marriage dissolved by divorce. Both conditions must be met. This complete disintegration will consist of a lack of any spiritual, physical and economic bonds between the spouses. The main reasons causing breakdown of marriage are alcoholism, aggression, violence & marital infidelity.
3. How long does it take to divorce in Poland?
The greater the discrepancies between the parties the longer the process. In the first place the contentious issue may be the fault as to the breakdown of the marriage. If the spouses do not agree to a divorce without adjudging on the guilt, it already heralds a rather lengthy trial, because the court will have to carry out all the evidentiary proceedings in the matter of guilt. Most often this involves the interrogation of a few or a dozen or so witnesses, as well as bringing a number of documents. The second factor that affects the length of the process is the issue of the spouses children. Divorce can end very quickly – even after the first hearing and in the event of an advanced conflict of the spouses – may take up to several years. Thus, you can wait for a long time for a final court decision, but it all depends on the individual circumstances of the particular case.
4. What types of evidence can be used when divorcing?
Evidence proceedings in a divorce case are primarily aimed at determining the circumstances surrounding the breakdown of marriage. The court can allow evidence from witnesses, official documents, private documents, experts opinions, environmental interviews, e-mails, bills and SMS printouts. These are not all acceptable evidence – their catalog is not closed. The possibility of using other proofs is regulated by the Polish Code of Civil Procedure.
5. What other family life aspects are settled once with the divorce?
In the ruling on the divorce, the court rules on joint parental authority over a minor child of both spouses and on parental contact with the child, and decides how much each spouse is obliged to bear on the costs of living and educating a child. The court may also delegate the exercise of parental authority to one of the parents, limiting the parental authority of the second parent to specific rights and duties in relation to the child. The court takes into account the agreement of the spouses on how to exercise parental authority, and maintaining contact with the child after the divorce, if it is compatible with the welfare of the child. Siblings should be brought up together, unless the welfare of the child requires a different outcome. Upon a mutual request of the parties, the court does not adjudicate on keeping contacts with the child.
If the spouses occupy shared accommodation, in the ruling on divorce the court will also rule on the use of the residence for as long as the divorced spouses are sharing accommodation. There is also the possibility that at the motion of one of the spouses, the court may, in the ruling on divorce, divide the joint property, as long as carrying out the division does not cause undue delay to the proceedings.
When the divorce verdict becomes final, a divorced spouse who changed a previous surname as a result of the marriage may submit a statement before the head of the registry office on reverting back to the surname from before the marriage.
6. Is my presence necessary when divorcing?
During the trial, either party could be represented by an attorney at law, however each time in divorce cases the court orders obligatory hearing of the parties, then the presence in court is obligatory.
7. What kind of temporary measures concerning children can be ordered during divorce proceedings?
During a divorce case, the court may grant for injunction by regulating custody of minors and contacts with a child and the secure maintenance claims.
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 child by visiting him at his place of residence, by having the children over and using electronic means of communication. The issue is not regulated by the law and is left to be regulated by parents.
9. In case a parent lives in another EU State, is that an obstacle for joint custody?
The place of residence of parent is not an obstacle when applying for joint custody.
10. How can a divorce resolution issued in Poland be acknowledged in another EU State?
When divorce is finalised, parties may request the issuance of a European form that can be used in any EU State and is recognized in the other Member States without any special procedure being required.
International divorce and family law issues are very different from purely English family law cases, so it is essential that you seek specialist legal advice.