Dissolution of marriage

Dissolution of marriage in the conditions of war

The full-scale war made significant adjustments to many areas of our lives. Starting from February 24, 2022, as a result of Russia’s aggression, many legal institutes began to work in a reduced mode, and the terms of consideration of appeals by state bodies increased significantly due to a lack of employees and constant interruptions in work during the air alert. This, in particular, concerns law enforcement agencies, courts, and civil status registration bodies.

Today, the process of dissolution of a marriage has its own specifics, first of all it concerns the dissolution of a marriage in which the spouses have minor children. In accordance with the norms of the Family Code of Ukraine, a marriage in which the wife is pregnant, or a child under the age of 1 year, cannot be terminated at all. After the child reaches the age of 1 (one) year, such a marriage can be terminated exclusively in a judicial proceeding. Unfortunately, today, due to martial law, the courts in Ukraine operate in a special mode, and procedural deadlines are stopped or can be extended during martial law, resulting in a large delay in the consideration of cases.

In many regions of our country, active hostilities are underway, so the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status agencies do not work in these regions. The Ministry of Justice of Ukraine has not yet provided an answer to the question of whether spouses or those wishing to get a divorce have the right to apply to another nearest Registry Office. However, the Supreme Court changed the territorial jurisdiction of the courts that were in the places of active hostilities and in the temporarily occupied territories, by attaching the consideration of cases of these courts to other courts located in safer regions of Ukraine. (such a list can be found here: https://ombudsman.gov.ua/storage/app/media/uploaded-files/Rozp_06_03_2022.pdf).

An action for dissolution of a marriage may be filed with the court at the place of residence of the defendant or at the place of residence of the plaintiff, provided that he/she has children to support.

Therefore, if the spouses have a situation in which the preservation of the family is no longer possible and the spouses decide to divorce, regardless of whether they have children or not, such a marriage can be terminated in court by filing a lawsuit in court without applying to the authorities of Bureau of Acts of Civil Status even in the case of general consent to the dissolution of marriage and the absence of minor children. Such a claim may be filed in a court that is determined by the Supreme Court as temporarily considering the cases of the court located at the place of registration of the defendant in the case, or the plaintiff, provided that he / he has dependent children, or if such spouses were forced to leave the place of their permanent residence and registration, and received the status of a temporarily displaced person, a claim for divorce can be filed at the place of registration of the defendant as a temporarily displaced person.

If one of the spouses who intends to file a lawsuit for divorce is abroad, he can conclude an agreement on the provision of legal assistance with a lawyer in Ukraine and his interests in court will be represented by such a lawyer. In the event that both parties have expressed a common desire to dissolve the marriage, regardless of whether they have minor children from 1 year old, and one of the spouses is abroad, there are several options for dissolving the marriage:

– one of the spouses who lives abroad submits a notarized statement of the established form about the desire to dissolve the marriage, on which an apostille is affixed. Further, such an application is transferred to one of the spouses who lives in Ukraine (it must be translated into Ukrainian, if necessary, and such a translation must be notarized), and the latter submits such an application, together with his application, to the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status body at the place of his registration, which registers the divorce.

– the consulate may be involved in the process of dissolution of marriage, therefore, one of the spouses who lives abroad draws up and signs an application for registration of the termination of marriage at the Ukrainian consulate, the second of the spouses living in Ukraine submits a corresponding application to the DRAC body at the place of his registration. Further, the consulate sends the non-resident’s application to the same body of the Bureau of Acts of Civil Status, which registers the divorce.

– a marriage can be dissolved by a court decision. The implementation of such a process is more laborious and has a significant number of obstacles, but such a process is possible only in states with which Ukraine has bilateral agreements on legal assistance in family or civil matters, otherwise the implementation of such a process will not be possible.

To begin with, consider the case when both spouses are abroad. To dissolve the marriage, the spouses apply to the local court at their place of residence, then the court, on the basis of an agreement on legal assistance, taking into account the norms of Ukrainian legislation, makes an appropriate decision. With such a decision, the ex-spouses already apply to the local civil registry office (municipality, etc., depending on the host country), which accepts documents, processes information and sends it to their Ukrainian colleagues. After receiving a response about the registration in Ukraine of the termination of marriage, depending on the country of residence of the spouses, a note is made on the dissolution of the marriage in the passport, or a certificate of divorce is issued, or the decision itself is the basis for the dissolution of the marriage.

In connection with the full-scale war in Ukraine, other situations may arise, and cases when the spouses cannot independently decide on the procedure for dissolution of the marriage, therefore we always recommend that you seek professional advice from family lawyers and receive professional legal support for your case if necessary. especially since it can be done remotely.

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