Divorce Lawyers in Poland

Divorce in Poland

Updated on Tuesday 21st September 2021

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In Poland, the grounds for divorce are the complete and irretrievable breakdown of a marriage. The court ruling is necessary when only one of the spouses files for divorce. In this case, it is necessary to determine the degree of fault and the manner in which the other spouse has contributed to the breakdown of the marriage.

Our divorce lawyers in Poland can help individuals who wish to dissolve a marriage. We can help not only with the divorce proceedings in court but also with assistance for the division of property.

The divorce law in Poland

The divorce in Poland can be defined as a way to solve the existing terms of the rights of marriage, by a court decision, at the request of one or both spouses.
Due to the legal significance of the institution of marriage, which requires a formal model of marriage, the divorce is also characterized by a high degree of formalization. This means that the procedure for granting a divorce is extensive and the actual granting of the divorce takes place only after the court proceedings and usually lasts much longer than the procedure of marriage.
The legal grounds for divorce in Poland are regulated in the Family and Guardianship Code.

The divorce procedure in Poland

The divorce in Poland is final upon the completion of the court proceedings. The case is initiated brought as a lawsuit to court. The application for divorce includes a set of documents, among which a copy of the marriage certificate and the birth certificates of the children, when there are minor children. Proof of payment for the court fees must be provided.

The court that will handle the case, or the competent court, is the district one where the spouses had their last home together. In the absence of the base, only the courts in the place of residence of the defendant or the court in the place of residence of the plaintiff can judge the divorce case.

The reason for the divorce in Poland is a spouse who wants a divorce, called the plaintiff, and the other spouse, the defendant.

In the case of divorce, a court hearing is necessary and it will take place behind closed doors. Only the parties, their representatives, and the witnesses participate in this meeting. During the hearing, both parties are requested to present their case and this process is mandatory. They will explain whether there has been a breakdown of the marriage and which is the situation of the minor children.

When or if the court decides that the marriage is salvable, the judge may refer the parties to mediation. This alternative dispute resolution method aims to solve the issues and conflicts between the parties in a manner in which the separation or the divorce can be avoided altogether. If this is not possible, then the mediator will try to solve the terms relating to childcare and property ownership as amicably as possible. One of our divorce lawyers in Poland can give you more options about the alternative non-judicial means of ending a marriage. We can also help you with negotiation proceedings when necessary.

The treatment of minor children and alimony after a divorce

The Family and Guardianship Code grants by numerous provisions the statutory principle of an equal standard of living of parents and children. The spouse who filed for divorce is the one who has the right to claim maintenance for the minor children. The financial situation of the parents does not exempt them from the obligation to provide alimony for the needs of children unless they are deprived of this possibility at all. In some cases, the court may decide that it is in the best interest of the children to limit the parental responsibilities to only one of the parents. If necessary, the court can dictate the express responsibilities of the parent that has a limitation of the care of the children.

Property separation after the divorce

Separate property is a form of property regime, characterized by the absence of a common property of the spouses. Instead, the joint property of the spouses implies common management of the property. It should be emphasized that the personal fortunes are, from the perspective of law, distinct from each other.

In practice, this means that each spouse owns and manages his/her assets completely autonomously, independently of the actions taken by the other individual. This does not mean, however, that spouses are deprived of the possibility of joint acquisition of rights and the joint obligations that arise (for example joint conclusion of the credit agreement, the purchase of an asset).

According to Polish law, there are three main types of separation of property, namely: separate property by agreement, division of marital property under a court ruling and separate property of equalization accomplishments. In almost all divorce cases, the division of property is performed for the joint property: in this case, both spouses have equal shares in the commonly acquired assets and real estate. One or both spouses may request a special court division of property. This means that the court will decide how the assets will be distributed according to the contribution percentage of each of the former husband and wife.  The court divorce degree can also establish the manner in which the two individuals will resolve any accommodation issues when they share the same home.

If one of the spouses is in financial difficulty, and if he/she is not the party found at fault for the breakdown of the marriage, a maintenance claim can be submitted. This is established based on reasonable needs and on the income of the other spouse. When, after a divorce decree, the financial situation of one of the spouses (the one who is not responsible for the divorce) is sees as severely damaged, then the other party may be required to provide for the needs of the other. All maintenance obligations case when the spouse who receives them is remarried. When the maintenance payment falls onto one of the spouses but he/she was not solely at fault for the marriage breakdown, then this responsibility ceases five years after the divorce date.

Another legal consequence of divorce is that the spouse who changed his/her surname will revert to the one before this event. This is done by submitting a declaration to the registry office and within three months after the divorce is final.

Separation and marriage annulment in Poland

Separation is another manner in which a marriage can dissolve in Poland and it has the same legal consequences (the change of name, alimony, and division of property) as a divorce. However, an important difference is that the separated spouse cannot remarry, as in the case of divorce.  The grounds for separation are the same as in the case of a divorce, namely the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.

The divorce procedure is not conditioned upon an earlier separation. One of our divorce lawyers in Poland can give you more information about separation and divorce and can help you with legal counseling if you are considering one of these.

Marriage annulment is a distinct manner in which the effects of marriage are canceled with a retroactive effect. The only exception is the status of the children born from that marriage. The conditions in which marriage annulment applies are the following:

-    failure to observe the marriage age: the union is annulled when a spouse if below the legal marriage age (and the ceremony took place despite the fact that the required documents were presented at the time).
-    the spouse is incapacitated: this refers to the situation in which a spouse is fully legally incapacitated, is mentally ill or has an intellectual disability.
-    unconscious agreement: if at the time of the marriage one of the parties was unable to consciously express his or her will or was under an unlawful threat, irrespective of the reasons.
-    the spouses are related: this refers to lineal consanguinity, collateral consanguinity or when they are related by adoption.

When the marriage is annulled because the union took place in bad faith, then the spouse who entered the marriage in bad faith will be the one liable for the breakdown of the marriage. The annulment is generally retroactive and its effects go back to the date of the marriage, however, in some cases the consequences of annulment arise only after the cancellation of the marriage is final (this applies to property in general).
Our team also offers other Family Law services, such as those related to preparing a will in Poland.
Do you need more information about the divorce in Poland or are you looking for a lawyer in Poland that can assist you? Contact our lawyers for further details and professional legal advice.