Silhouette symbol. Child custody. Family law proceedings. Divorce mediation, legal separation

Divorce Proceedings To Be Simplified In The Czech Republic From 2025

The changes are proposed to take effect from January 2025. Credit: Freepik.

Prague, October 23 (CTK) – Divorce proceedings are set to be simplified and accelerated in the Czech Republic from 2025, under changes to the Civil Code presented in the Chamber of Deputies today by representatives of the Justice Ministry and MP Eva Decroix (ODS). 

As part of the proposals, courts will no longer have to determine the cause of the marriage breakdown, divorce and child custody proceedings could be merged, and amicable divorces  should be supported by lower court fees. The amendments also envisage changes to the enforcement of child maintenance payments and a ban on the physical punishment of children.

The changes are proposed to take effect from January 2025. 

According to statistics from the Ministry of Justice, divorces where the court did not have to deal with the future of children took on average 55 days last year. If custody proceedings preceded the divorce, it was over four months.

Wives are twice as likely to file for divorce than husbands. In two-thirds of the cases, both partners agreed to end the union.

According to the Czech Statistical Office, the average marriage lasts 13.5 years. The overall divorce rate last year was 38%. In the Czech Republic, about two-fifths of marriages break up. In the last decade, the figure was as high as one-half.

According to Deputy Justice Minister Antonin Stanislav, the amendment contains four main changes to divorce procedures. These include: the removal of the requirement to establish the causes of marriage breakdown; the merging of divorce and child custody proceedings; ending the obligation to appoint a conflict guardian; reform of court fees to encourage amicable solutions between partners.

Decroix, a lawyer and mediator by profession, said the current setup does not include many “incentives” for an amicable divorce. She mentioned the speed and flexibility of the proceedings as well as the financial issue.

Decroix said the investigation of the causes of the breakdown of a marriage was outdated, and no longer had any practical benefit. “It still involves finding some fault. Clients find it difficult to define the causes in an objective way. When we manage to set them to look for common ground, we start looking for causes and it is like a boomerang back,” the MP said .

She said merging the two proceedings would mean only one visit to court for the partners. “If the family is in agreement on everything – usually the parents are separated, custody is working in some way, they are prepared to pay child support, there is no need for the process to be so complicated,” Decroix said.

She said the hearing could also be more informal and not just take place in the courtroom, but in other venues as well. Court fees in an amicable divorce should be lower, she said.

Physical punishment of children should be prohibited by the Civil Code, but without penalties. According to Decroix, the amendment will thus mainly highlight the unacceptability of corporal punishment of children. Non-payment of child maintenance should now be discouraged by higher interest on late payments than on ordinary debts. It should also be possible to refer child maintenance claims for debt recovery.

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