Children and child support/alimony
My husband/wife doesn't want to let me see my children. How can I defend myself?
If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, you will need to take the matter to court, which will make a decision on custody and visitation rights that both sides will have to uphold. We recommend that you contact child protective services as well and inform them of the situation.
If we want shared custody, does that mean I won't have to pay child support?
Shared custody does not automatically mean that neither parent pays child support. The law says that children's standard of living after the divorce should be essentially the same as their parents' standard of living. Especially if one parent earns significantly more and the other parent is objectively unable to achieve similar earnings, the court can set child support even if the children are in shared custody.
What does the court take into consideration when deciding on custody arrangements?
In setting custody and visitation rights, the court primarily considers the needs of the child, not only the suggestion of the parents. With older children, the court should take their opinion into account. The established division of care between the parents may also play a role, although the court always decides on the individual merits of each case. Child protective services also gives its opinion to the court.
I am not satisfied with the amount set for child support/alimony - how soon can I request a change?
You can request a change in child support/alimony essentially any time a change occurs in the circumstances based on which the previous decision was made.
Do I have to pay alimony to my former spouse as well?
Under certain circumstances a former spouse may be required to pay alimony if the other spouse's standard of living is to be significantly different after the divorce and they would be unable to support themselves.
What role does child protective services play in setting custody and child support?
Child protective services acts as the unbiased representative of the child in court proceedings setting child support. Its primary purpose is to protect the interests of the child. It may make statements, file motions and/or make position statements in the proceedings.
I want a divorce. Where do I start?
If you have minor children born in the marriage, the first step involves arrangements regarding their care: custody, visitation for the non-custodial parent, and child support. Only after the court rules on these matters can it begin addressing the divorce petition itself. If you do not have minor children born in the marriage, you can file the divorce petition at any time. Settlement (division) of joint marital property is not a prerequisite for divorce.
Is it better to file the divorce petition myself or wait for my husband/wife to file it?
In divorce petitions it does not make much difference which spouse files first, but it is always good to be first so you have an advantage in argumentation. This may also play a role in proving the breakdown of the marriage where one spouse does not agree to the divorce.
What divorce documentation will I need in court?
In the court proceedings to dissolve your marriage you will need the original marriage certificate.
What if my husband/wife is forcing me into a divorce that I do not want?
If one spouse does not agree to the divorce, the court always reviews the causes of the breakdown in the marriage and gathers evidence reviewing the depth and permanence of the breakdown and takes into account various accompanying circumstances. If you do not agree to the divorce, tell the court as much and give your reasons. In any case the court's divorce ruling is subject to appeal.
Is it better to have an attorney with me in court, or can I handle it myself?
You are not legally required to have an attorney, but if you are not certain what you can ask for during the proceedings or how to get it, we certainly recommend using an attorney. In addition to actual legal advice, the simple fact of having an attorney will improve your position in court.
How much will the divorce cost me?
The court fee is set at CZK 2,000, and then you will have costs for legal representation depending on how long and complicated the case becomes.
Do I need to have my property settled before the divorce?
No, you do not need to have joint marital property settled before the divorce or even afterwards. A legal presumption of settlement enters into force three years after the divorce, so that for instance the car you have in your possession at that moment is yours.
Can I get a divorce without a decision on the children?
No, that is not possible. A legally enforceable court ruling on child custody arrangements is required before your divorce can be finalized. That said, however, you can file a divorce petition whenever you like and the court will suspend the divorce proceedings until the custody arrangements have been made.
Property and settlements
What all falls under settled property?
Everything that is joint marital property (real estate, money, vehicles, ownership interests in companies, shares in housing cooperatives, receivables, mortgage and debts, if acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage).
If I inherit my parents' house, will that be part of the property settlement?
Things one spouse acquires by inheritance or gift or in relation to their sole property do not become joint marital property.
Do my husband/wife's debts also fall under joint marital property?
Yes. Joint marital property includes debts, regardless of which spouse was party to the contract taking out the credit (for example). One protection against a spouse's debts involves filing an objection of invalidity.