Where to get divorced with an eu citizen when living in the Czech republic

The number of binational couples grows in the Czech Republic every year, as well as the divorce rate. Once married to a Czech citizen or just living in the Czech Republic with your expat spouse for a long time, getting divorced could be more complicated from the legal perspective.

Firstly, it must be decided whether or not there is a jurisdiction of the Czech courts. This question is answered in the article 3 of the EU Regulation No. 2201/2003 called Brussels II a (or by some experts Brussels II bis). In matters related to divorce but also marriage annulment, the jurisdiction shall generally lie with the Court where the spouse are habitually resident or where the respondent is habitually resident. In the event of joint application, the jurisdiction lies within the state where either of the spouses is habitually resident. The jurisdiction could also lie with the courts of the state of the origin of both spouses.

The rules set in the Brussels II bis Regulation have an exclusive nature. It means that the spouse who is either habitually resident or is a national of the EU Member State could be sued in another EU state only in accordance with the provisions of the Regulation.

To make it clear, let me provide an example. Consider a married couple – a wife of Czech nationality and a husband of German nationality, both long term living in the Czech Republic and having their habitual residency there. After a few arguments, the man moves back to Germany, lives there for a few months and starts a divorce proceeding. The woman stays in the Czech Republic. The jurisdiction lies always within the Czech courts because it is the place where the respondent is habitually resident. However, if the wife agrees and they file a joint application while the husband’s habitual residency has moved back to Germany, the jurisdiction lies either in the Czech Republic or in Germany.

Another question is the applicable law in such cases. International divorces could be very difficult, so if you need an assistance with the divorce or just a consultation of your situation, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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