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In the Slovak Republic, marriage can be dissolved only by a court.
A marriage can be divorced by a court if the relationship between the spouses is seriously damaged and permanently broken so that the marriage can no longer serve its purpose and the spouses cannot be expected to resume marital cohabitation.
The court establishes what caused the serious break-down of the relationship between the spouses and takes it into account in its decision-making.
The relationship between the spouses can be seriously damaged and permanently broken owing to various subjective and objective reasons (alcohol abuse, infidelity, health reasons, lack of interest in the family, incompatibility of character, etc.).
Legal effects of divorce:
A spouse who, on marrying, had taken the surname of the other spouse may notify the registry office within one month after the divorce decision has become final that he/she is re-assuming his/her former surname.
A spouse who, on marrying, had taken the surname of the other spouse and at the same time kept, as a second surname, his/her former surname may notify the registry office within one month after the divorce decision has become final that he/she is discontinuing to use the common surname.
The regime of community property is dissolved by divorce. When the system of community property is dissolved, its affairs shall be settled in accordance with the principles set out under Section 150 of the Civil Code. The system of community property may be settled by: (a) agreement; (b) a judicial decision; (c) by lapse of time.
In a decision on the divorce of the parents of a minor, the court specifies the rights and obligations of the parents towards their minor child in the period after the divorce, in particular by determining which parent will be entrusted with the upbringing of the child, with representing the child and with administering his/her property. The decision on parental responsibilities may be replaced by the parents' agreement.
Where the parents do not reach an agreement on the visitation rights in respect of the minor child, the court specifies the parents' visitation rights in the divorce decision. Where necessary in the interest of the minor child, the court restricts the visitation rights of a parent or prohibit them.
In addition, the court specifies how the parent who had not been entrusted with the upbringing of the minor child should contribute towards the child's maintenance, or approves the parents' agreement on the amount of maintenance.
A divorced spouse who is unable to provide for himself/herself may demand from the former spouse a contribution towards the essential maintenance according to the latter’s ability and capacity. If the spouses fail to agree, the decision regarding such maintenance contribution shall be made by the court on a petition of either of them.
Slovak national law does not provide for legal separation.
Besides divorce, marriage can also be declared invalid by a judicial decision. Such marriage is deemed not to have been concluded from the beginning (matrimonium nullum). In addition, the court may declare that the marriage has never come into existence (non matrimonium).
Where marriage is concluded despite the existence of any of the above circumstances excluding the conclusion of marriage, it is deemed to have come into existence (existing marriage) until the judicial decision annulling the marriage becomes final.
Marriage that has been declared invalid by a judicial decision is deemed not to have been concluded.
The rights and duties of spouses in respect of their common child, and their property relations following a judicial decision on marriage annulment is also governed by the provisions on the rights and duties of divorced parents in respect of their common child and their property relations. Following a judicial decision on marriage annulment, the declaration made by the spouses concerning their common surname also ceases to be valid and each spouse has to re-assume his/her former surname.
Only a court can declare marriage to be dissolved. Related issues may be resolved by applying Act No 420/2004 Coll. on mediation.
Petitions for divorce, marriage annulment or declaration to the effect that the marriage has never come into existence shall be lodged with a district court.
A court having territorial jurisdiction is the court in whose area of jurisdiction the spouses had their latest common residence in the Slovak Republic, if at least one of them resides in the area of jurisdiction of the court. If no such court exists, the general court of the respondent has jurisdiction, or if no such court exists either, the general court of the petitioner.
The petition must fulfil the formalities set out in the Code of Civil Procedure (Sections 42(3) and 79(1)).
In the petition it must be stated to which court it is addressed, who is the petitioner, which matter it concerns and what is the purpose pursued; it must be signed and dated. In addition, the petition must state the first names, family names and places of residence of the parties (and their representative, if they have one), their nationality, a faithful description of the key facts and a list of the evidence the petitioner intends to rely on; the petition should also make it clear what the petitioner is seeking.
The petitioner must attach to the petition the documentary evidence on which he/she relies, except for those documents that cannot be attached through no fault of his/her own.
The petition must be submitted with the right number of copies and annexes, so that the court keeps one copy and each party receives a copy as necessary. If the party fails to provide the right number of copies and annexes, the court makes copies at the his/her expense.
The provision of legal aid is governed by Act No 327/2005 Coll. on provision of legal aid for people in material need (see Legal Aid - Slovakia).
A court fee has to be paid for a divorce proceeding. A party to the procedure may request exemption from payment of the court fees.
Upon a petition, the court may exempt the party, in whole or in part, from payment of the court fees, if justified by the party's circumstances and if the case does not involve arbitrary or manifestly unsuccessful application or protection of a right. Unless the court decides otherwise, the exemption applies to the entire procedure and has retroactive effect; however, fees paid before the decision on exemption was issued are not to be refunded.
An appeal may be lodged against such a judicial decision within 30 days of the service of the decision.
A petition for the recognition of the decision should be lodged. The Regional Court in Bratislava has jurisdiction.
Final decisions in matrimonial matters issued in other Member States (except Denmark) after 1 May 2004 are recognised pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility. Decisions are recognised without any special procedure being required; in particular no special procedure for amending the entry in the records of the registry office is required. However, the interested party may apply for a special decision to be issued on the recognition of a foreign decision in matrimonial matters. The Regional Court in Bratislava has jurisdiction regarding the recognition of foreign decisions.
As for decisions issued in Denmark or decisions issued in other Member States before 1 May 2004, it is necessary to lodge a petition for the recognition of a foreign final decision in matrimonial matters, if at least one of the parties is a Slovak national. Such a procedure is initiated by a petition which may be lodged by a person designated as a party in the foreign decision. The Regional Court in Bratislava has jurisdiction regarding the recognition of foreign decisions.
A decision on the recognition or non-recognition of a foreign decision may be appealed.
The appeal should be lodged with the Regional Court in Bratislava; it is decided on by the Supreme Court.
The dissolution of marriage by divorce is governed by the applicable law of the state whose nationals the spouses were when the procedure was initiated. If the spouses are of different nationalities, the dissolution of marriage by divorce is governed by Slovak law.Top
Last update: 04-05-2007