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Divorce

Table of contents:

1.  What are the conditions for obtaining a divorce?

2.  What are the grounds for divorce?

3.  What are the consequences of a divorce as regards:
     a) The personal relations between the spouses
     b) The division of property of the spouses

4. What does the legal term “legal separation” mean in practice?

5.  What does the term “marriage annulment” mean in practice?

6.  What are the conditions for marriage annulment?

7.  What are the legal consequences of marriage annulment?

8. Are there alternative non-judicial means for solving issues relating to the divorce without going to court?

9. Where should I lodge my application (petition) for divorce /marriage annulment?

10. Can I obtain legal aid to cover the costs of the procedure?

11. Is it possible to appeal against a decision relating to divorce /marriage annulment?

12. What should I do to have a decision on divorce/ marriage annulment issued by a court in a Member State recognised in the Republic of Croatia?

13. Which court should I turn to for the recognition of a decision on divorce/marriage annulment issued by a court in another Member State?

14. Which divorce law does the court apply in a divorce proceeding between spouses who do not live in the Republic of Croatia or who are of different nationality?


1. What are the conditions for obtaining a divorce?
A proposal for an agreed divorce or a legal suit for divorce before a court.

2. What are the grounds for divorce?
    1. If the marital relations have been seriously and lastingly disturbed
    2. If a year has passed since the marital union ceased to exist
    3. If both spouses have consensually applied for a divorce. 

3. What are the consequences of a divorce as regards:
a) Personal relations between the spouses?
There are no consequences.

b) The division of property of the spouses?
In the division of joint assets, it will be considered that the share of the spouses of the joint assets is equal, if they have not agreed upon otherwise.

4. What does the legal term “legal separation” mean in practice?
The Family Act of the Republic of Croatia contains no such legal term.

5. What does the term “marriage annulment” mean in practice
Upon the annulment of a marriage, the marriage ceases to have legal effect.

6. What are the conditions for marriage annulment?
Conditions for marriage annulment are as follows:

1. A marriage was contracted by a person under eighteen years of age
2. A marriage was contracted by a person who lost legal capacity or is incapable  of judging
3. A marriage was contracted between kin in direct line or in the lateral line,  between a brother and a sister, a half-brother and a half-sister, a child with a sister  or half-sister or a brother or half-brother of his or her parent, children of sisters  and brothers and half-sisters and half-brothers
4. A marriage was contracted by a person who is already married
 
7. What are the legal consequences of marriage annulment?
If a marriage is annulled, it ceases to have legal effect from the day of the annulment (ex nunc).

8. Are there alternative non-judicial means for solving issues relating to the divorce without going to court?
Legislation of the Republic of Croatia provides no non-judicial means, such as mediation, for solving issues relating to the divorce without going to court.


9. Where should I lodge my application (petition) for divorce/marriage annulment? 
Municipal courts have subject-matter jurisdiction to adjudicate on applications for divorce, while territorial jurisdiction is established in accordance with the rules on general territorial jurisdiction (defendant’s permanent residence).


10. Can I obtain legal aid to cover the costs of the procedure?
Yes.

11. Is it possible to appeal against a decision relating to divorce/marriage annulment?
Yes.

12. What should I do to have a decision on divorce/ marriage annulment issued by a court in a Member State recognised in the Republic of Croatia?
A procedure for the recognition of a foreign court decision will be initiated upon a motion.

Any person with legal interest may submit a motion for the recognition of a foreign court decision.

A decision on the recognition of a foreign court decision is rendered by a single judge of a municipal court.

A motion for the recognition of a foreign court decision may be filed with any municipal court in the Republic of Croatia. Territorial jurisdiction will lie with the court competent for deciding on the subject matter. 

A person filing for the recognition of a foreign court decision will have to supplement the motion with a certificate, issued by a competent foreign court or another body, stating that the decision is legally binding under the law of the country where it was rendered.

13. Which court should I turn to for the recognition of a decision on divorce/marriage annulment issued by a court in another Member State?  
Territorial jurisdiction will lie with the court competent for deciding on the subject matter. 


14. Which divorce law does the court apply in a divorce proceeding between spouses who do not live in the Republic of Croatia or who are of different nationality?
1. The law of the country whose citizens the spouses are at the time of filing for a divorce will be applied to dissolve the marriage.

2. If at the time of filing for a divorce the spouses are citizens of different countries, then the cumulative laws of the countries whose citizens they are will be applied to dissolve the marriage.

3. If the marriage cannot be dissolved under Article 2 of the Family Act, then the law of the Republic of Croatia will be applied to dissolve a marriage if the permanent residence of one of the spouses at the time of filing for a divorce is in the Republic of Croatia.

4. If one of the spouses is a citizen of the Republic of Croatia and does not have permanent residence in the Republic of Croatia, and the marriage cannot be dissolved under Paragraph 2 of this Article, then the law of the Republic of Croatia will be applied.


 

Further information:
Family Act (Official Gazette: 116/03, 17/04, 136/04, 107/07)
Conflicts of Law Act (Official Gazette: 53/1991)

International agreements:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Official Gazette MU 12/93)
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Official Gazette MU 12/93)
Convention for Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and Protocols 1, 4, 6, 7 and 11 to the Convention (Official Gazette MU 6/99 – consolidated text)
Treaty between the Holy See and the Republic of Croatia on Legal Matters (MU 3/97)