Comparing to the Czech republic, getting a divorce is unbelievably easy.
I happened to talk to my lawyer friend while visiting Czech republic and she gave me a very thorough consultation on the process of divorcing in the Czech republic, so now I am able to look and compare the process from the two different perspectives.
In our case, even though we got married in the Czech republic, our whole relationship and marriage we lived in Finland, our kids are born here and never lived elsewhere, that is why we get to divorce in Finland, under the Finnish jurisdiction. So, first thing you have to find out, is under which country's jurisdiction you actually belong.
In Finland, paper wise, it does not really matter, whether you are divorced or just separated. The minute you start living apart (due to the end of relationship), you get the label eronnut and you get the same rights and responsibilities, as if you would officially gotten divorced.
Practically, it means you get to apply to KELA for extra financial support right when you separate and start living apart, and you do not have to wait for the time the marriage is officially terminated.
While applying, you always have to state though that you live apart due to the end of your relationship.
|Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash|
If you do not send the second document after the 6 month period, the divorce is terminated and you stay married.
From what I understood from a friend, the only thing one can do against the decision, is to make the probation period one month longer. Nothing more.
If you lived officially apart for 2 years and longer, the divorce gets settled without the 6 month waiting period.
After we have sent the first letter, I have received an invoice for a fee of 200euro (in 2019). And after we completed the second part and became officially divorced, Robert got an invoice for 100euro. I have no idea why they send it only to one of us in both cases and how they decided whichever gets which one. :)
It does not really matter whether you both apply, or if it is just one from the couple. The divorce will simply happen ,whether the other one wants it or not. There are no lawyers included. You do not need to divide properties. You do not have to present official contract regarding child care.
However, it is always advised to make an official contract regarding children - meaning custody and child support, etc. But it is not obligatory. You get to do it while meeting an official at the Lastenvalvoja office, where they help you decide and word all the necessary points of the contract.
Apart from the situation when you simply cannot decide together and it is difficult to communicate, the contract is also good in case the one who is entitled to pay the financial support (usually the father, if kids live with the mother) looses his/her job. With this official contract, KELA can take over the responsibility and pays the support instead of him/her, until he/she is able to pay again. That is not possible without the contract.
|Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash|
Only when you fail to agree on the child care or on the property division, or something else goes wrong, you get to hire a lawyer and deal with it through a court.
It is flabbergasting to me, because from my understanding, in the Czech republic, state is involved even if you wanna get a divorce consensually - you still get to meet a lawyer, write an official agreement regarding child care and property division. And if you fail in any part of the process, the court swoops in and makes the decisions for you.
If one from the couple does not want to go through with the divorce, it needs to be decided through a court, where you get to vindicate your decision - and according to my friend lawyer it is always messy and very very uncomfortable. On top of that, judge can always decide that you are not entitled to get a divorce and he/she can officially order you to go through a couple counselling, mediation, etc. and try harder and some more.
Some useful related Finnish words:
avioliitto - married (as of a officially married)
avoliitto - cohabitting (as a couple living together, not officially maried)
avioero - divorce (as an official end of marriage)
käräjä - Court District
You can read a short and understandable explanation on the divorce in Finland at the webpage of Väestöliitto (The Family federation). It is written in Finnish, but google translator translates it pretty well into English or Czech.
Official divorce documents (avioerohakemus) can be downloaded on Oikeus.fi.
If you decided to read through this article, I assume you are standing at the difficult part of your life.
Hang in there, guys, and trust that all will be good. Be well. Sending love and support to you all.