Reader question: What are the rules for splitting property after a divorce?

Property division can be an especially big issue during a divorce. How does it work in the Czech Republic? Staff

Written by Staff Published on 16.02.2022 17:00:00 (updated on 16.02.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

Q: I’m about to file for divorce and very confused about the process, as my partner and I own a lot of assets together. As an expat living in the Czech Republic, how do you navigate the complex issue of splitting property after a divorce?

A: We spoke to lawyer Lucie Martin-Nešporová from LN Law Office Prague to find out how property division works in the Czech Republic when a marriage ends. 

If your marriage has gone through a major crisis while living in the Czech Republic Republic and you’re thinking about ending the relationship, the first step (before you even file for divorce) is to clarify not only where and under what circumstances you will divorce, but also how you'll settle all your assets. 

Foreigners living in the Czech Republic may, under certain conditions, also get divorced here. It's completely irrelevant that you are not a citizen of the Czech Republic or that your marriage did not take place here. From the point of view of the law, it’s enough that the Czech Republic was your last common residence and one of you still lives here. If this is the case, the settlement of any joint property can be carried out by a Czech court.

In certain cases, European legislation allows for divorce (and subsequent settlement of assets) in a Member State other than the one in which you last resided – which for some people might turn out to be more advantageous. This means it’s important to consider your options in advance – where you can, want to, and will settle assets – before you file for divorce.

In the Czech Republic, divorce can sometimes be a lengthy and complicated process, with usually at least three proceedings required. If you have children, you must first resolve the issue of custody of minors, and only then can you proceed with the divorce. 

Then there’s the issue of property division, which requires another proceeding. However, if you are unable to agree on property division before the divorce (which would be the simplest and cheapest option), your property will be dealt with after the divorce. If one of the spouses demands maintenance, this will require additional proceedings.   

The division of property during a divorce is never settled automatically by the court in the Czech Republic. Instead, you will need to submit a proposal yourself no later than three years after the divorce becomes final. Keep in mind that the court will settle only the assets that you list in your proposal – whatever you forget to include will remain unsettled. 

When it comes to real estate, it’s not enough just to agree on the division. You will need to register the property division into the Real Estate Cadastre with a specific proposal. According to Czech Republic laws, if the changes related to real estate aren't registered in the Cadastre, it's like they do not exist.

If you do not submit your proposal for a settlement within three years of the divorce, Czech law considers that the ex-spouses will remain as co-owners.

One important thing to remember is that, according to the Czech Civil Code, debts acquired during the marriage are also joint property. For example, if you bought an expensive car with a loan paid from your own income during the marriage, the car is automatically considered common property, even if only your name is on the title. This will be the case for the loan as well, except if you go through a court proceeding to contest the debt, claiming that you were not aware of it and did not agree to it.

The only exceptions to common property under Czech law are gifts made to one of the spouses, things acquired through inheritance, and personal use things that belong to each of the spouses.

Common property means different things in different countries. For example, French legislation looks at common property in a way similar to the Czech Republic, but British law is very different. Also, keep in mind that Czech courts can apply foreign law in some particular cases. When thinking about filing for divorce in the Czech Republic, this is an important point to keep in mind.   

This article was written in association with LN Law Office Prague, founded by Mgr. Lucie Martin-Nešporová offering expertise in international private law, family law, real estate and other aspects of law in spoken and written Czech, French, and English as well as communication in German and Russian. To read more about our partner content policies see here.

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