What does divorce entail – contested or uncontested?

Although all spouses promise each other eternal love at the beginning, it may happen that their paths diverge and divorce is the topic of the day – this can be so-called uncontested (= divorce by agreement) or contested. Find out what divorce involves and how to proceed below.

Manželský pár sundávající si snubní prsten, který se připravuje na to, co obnáší rozvod
6 minutes of reading

Chapters of the article

What do the statistics say about divorce?

statistiky rozvodů
Barevné sloupce: Oranžová - první pololetí, zelená - 3. čtvrtletí, fialová - 4. čtvrtletí

According to the Czech Statistical Office, the divorce rate is declining in 2023. However, it is not certain how long this trend will be maintained. Half of the divorce proceedings were initiated by a joint proposal – the percentage below was significantly lower. At the same time, 59% of marriages had to deal with the adjustment of minor children together with the divorce. Let’s now take a look at what a quicker divorce by agreement entails and what you need to account for in a contested divorce.

How to divorce by agreement?

In practice, we often find that clients often have no idea what conditions they need to meet for a quicker and less cost ly divorce by agreement = uncontested.

The essential condition under the Civil Code is that the spouses are in agreement that the marriage is irretrievably broken and they want to end it as quickly and with as little inconvenience as possible.

The law continues to lay down the following conditions:

  • One spouse files for divorce and the other spouse joins in.
  • The marriage has lasted for at least 1 year on the date the divorce proceedings are initiated.
  • The spouses have not lived together for more than 6 months.
  • If the spouses have a minor child, they have agreed to adjust the child’s circumstances and the court has approved their agreement.
  • Similarly, they have agreed to adjust their property, housing and, if necessary, alimony in the period after the divorce.

What needs to be done in an uncontested divorce

The agreement on the division of the community property and the rights of cohabitation after the dissolution of the marriage, which is attached to the petition for uncontested divorce, needs only to be certified by the spouses with notarised signatures. However, the agreement between the spouses concerning the arrangement of the relations with the minor children before and after the divorce must be approved by the court. This application can be filed with the competent court together with the application for uncontested divorce, but the court’s primary concern is child custody.

Hint: The Ministry of Justice has introduced an amendment to the law to further simplify the divorce process in court. The primary goal, according to the drafters, is not to make divorce an easy affair, but to eliminate outdated legislation. What will this amendment bring to our clients who are considering divorce? We have addressed this in a separate article.

Once the court approves the agreement, nothing prevents the petition for uncontested divorce from being granted and the marriage from being dissolved.

Unfortunately, life is not always that simple. Divorces can be fraught with emotion, and if the spouses disagree on even one of the above, it is a drawn-out court process, usually divided into three separate proceedings that have a clearly defined order.

Need quick advice on divorce?

Are you dealing with a specific situation with an opposing party and not sure if it could turn out to be a problem? Get quick advice with our tailored solution service. Within 24 hours you can be clear.

Tip: Divorce proceedings are a process that takes place in court and results in the dissolution of a marriage. In the words of the law, a marriage can only be dissolved if it is deeply, permanently and irretrievably broken and cannot be expected to be restored. The details are discussed in our article.

What does a contested divorce entail?

As with an uncontested divorce, in a contested divorce it is first necessary to decide how child custody will be handled. If the spouses are unable to agree on this issue, a lengthy dispute ensues over which parent will have custody of the minor children and what the other parent’s child support obligations will be.

Tip: Read up on what it’s like for children in divorce and find out what you can expect.

Once the question of children has been resolved, or if the marriage is childless, the divorce proceedings follow. The divorce proceedings themselves are not as extensive, but, unlike uncontested proceedings, the reasons for the divorce must be established. So, for example, the infidelity of one of the spouses or other reasons are proved. Although this can be a very delicate and unpleasant subject, it is important for the course of the whole divorce and the division of the community property.

As far as the property settlement is concerned, either spouse can file this petition and they can also agree on it out of court. However, the settlement must take place within 3 years of the divorce becoming final. We have dealt with the settlement of the community property in a separate article.

Tip: In late 2022, the Ministry of Justice introduced a new child support table. In connection with its publication, some of the principles for calculating child support have been slightly modified. So read on to find out how to calculate child maintenance in 2024.

Is there a chance the court might not divorce you at all?

Nowadays, you do not have to worry about the court not granting a divorce petition if the cohabitation of the spouses is deeply and permanently affected. It is a different matter if the divorce would be contrary to compelling circumstances, which are primarily the interests of the minor child and the interests of the spouse who did not predominantly participate in the breakdown through breach of marital duties and who would be particularly seriously harmed by the divorce.

Interesting fact from practice: Our divorce attorneys have also encountered a case where one of the spouses suffered an injury with permanent consequences shortly before filing for divorce. Because of his disability, he was completely dependent on the other’s help and for that reason the court initially did not grant the petition. The solution was an agreement that proposed alimony for the husband.

It doesn’t end in divorce

Whether it is an uncontested divorce or a contested divorce, there are always a number of other issues that will need to be taken into account when a marriage is dissolved. These will include the divorced spouse’s surname, the determination of the divorced spouse’s alimony, tenancy rights and the right to cohabit. We covered more of these in our article on contested divorce.

Tip: Dealing with a surname change after divorce? Learn how to do it.

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Author of the article

Mgr. Lucie Petránková

Lucie understands the legal profession like few others, and she defends the interests of her clients both inside and outside the courtroom. Lucie has won hundreds of disputes, and her role on our team is to ensure the smooth and effiecient transfer of real properties. She is also experienced in both civil law and family law.

  • Postgraduate studies Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Law, field: medical law,
  • Universita Pantheon d ´Assas Paris II,
  • Law, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Law

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