A clean break: Divorce in Czechia could become simpler and faster

The proposed changes aim to save separating couples both time and money – especially if the divorcees cannot reach a settlement.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 24.10.2023 14:36:00 (updated on 24.10.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Divorce proceedings in the Czech Republic are set to become more streamlined and easier starting in 2025, according to proposed legal changes presented by the country’s Ministry of Justice on Monday.

Less time in court

Under draft amendments to the country's Civil Code, courts would no longer need to investigate the causes of a marriage's dissolution. Divorce cases would also be combined with child custody proceedings into a single court process, rather than requiring two separate legal trials that often take over a year.

Additionally, the new rules aim to incentivize amicable splits by lowering court fees for couples who reach mutual agreements. The amendments are slated to take effect in January 2025, but must first be passed by the Chamber of Deputies, Senate, and president.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, the average marriage in Czechia lasts 13.5 years. The overall divorce rate last year was 38 percent. In the Czech Republic, about two-fifths of marriages end in divorce. In the last decade, the divorce rate stood at one point at 50 percent.

"The current setup does not contain many 'motivating factors' for an amicable divorce," said member of parliament Eva Decroix, who is one of the key figures behind the draft bill. She argues the changes will speed up and add flexibility to divorce cases. Decroix also believes that investigating why a marriage dissolved is unnecessary and sometimes counterproductive.

According to Deputy Minister of Justice Antonín Stanislav, the four main proposed shifts are: canceling causation inquiries, merging divorce and custody suits, eliminating the need for multiple lawyers, and reducing fees in order to encourage agreed-upon splits.

Many divorces take over a year and are expensive

The average divorce in the Czech Republic currently takes just over two months if no under-18-year-old children are involved, per statistics from the Ministry of Justice. About two-thirds of divorcing couples come to mutual agreements to separate without the need for custody battles.

However, if a couple cannot reach an agreement, then court disputes can often take longer than eight months. According to the Divorce Counseling non-government organization, most divorces take between six and 12 months, though many go on for over a year.

The basic court fee to file for divorce is CZK 2,000. However, additional fees apply depending on the complexity of dividing up property and assets. Settling movable joint property ranges from CZK 1,000 to CZK 20,000.

If expert opinions are required to value assets, especially real estate, costs can quickly escalate into the thousands or tens of thousands of crowns. For example, an expert opinion on a property's value typically ranges from CZK 2,500 to CZK 10,000.

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