Dissolution of marriages
We provide comprehensive legal assistance in proceedings concerning dissolution of marriages. We conduct cases related to adjudication of at-fault divorces and divorces by mutual consent.
When can a divorce decree be issued by the court?
Pursuant to the Polish legislation, divorce i.e. dissolution of a marriage may only be adjudicated by the court in the course of judicial proceedings, provided at that all necessary conditions prescribed by the law have been met. The court may issue a divorce decree only upon determining that the marital breakdown is permanent and complete. According to the settled case-law, such permanent and complete breakdown of marriage occurs when spouses are no longer bound with each other emotionally, physically and economically. The breakdown is not regarded as complete if at least one of the marital bonds specified above has not been broken. Hence, adjudicating the divorce is only possible when all the three bonds have disappeared, provided that such disappearance is permanent i.e. there are no chances to save the relationship. Therefore, such marital breakdown must not only be complete (disintegration of all the three marital bonds) but also permanent (no chances to restore such bonds). If the occurrence of such marital breakdown is not demonstrated by the parties, the court dismisses the petition for divorce, regardless of the content thereof, and the marriage will remain valid.
Moreover, the court may also refuse to issue a divorce decree if such ruling would be contrary to the interest of minor children, or principles of social coexistence. In fact, the court is responsible, first of all, for securing the best interest of the common minor children. Hence, a divorce decree will only be issued if the court is fully convinced that minor children will not suffer as a result thereof. In most cases, when parents are no longer capable of functioning as a married couple, the divorce turns out to be the best way of improving the children’s situation and functioning of the family. Therefore, in certain circumstances, filing a petition for divorce helps to stop further disintegration of the family and lessen the harm suffered by children.
What are the consequences of at-fault divorce?
One of the key determinations made by the court in the course of divorce proceedings is who is to blame for the marital breakdown. The fault may either lie on both of the spouses, or just one of them. When adjudicating on the blame for the marital breakdown, the court does not which spouse is more at fault. Even if one spouse contributed to the marital breakdown much more than the other, the court will determine that both of them are at fault. In other words, the court will not determine who is more blameworthy, but whether anyone may be held guilty, at least to the smallest degree, for the disintegration of marriage. As a consequence, when filing a petition for divorce the parties should consider whether demanding at-fault divorce is the best option. The outcome of such proceedings can be quite surprising, and the very procedure can be disturbingly painful and involve raking up of old wounds.
The Polish legislation also provides for a less distressing divorce procedure, provided however that such option is accepted by both spouses. Moreover, a spouse who has initially filed a petition for at-fault divorce may later change his/her mind and opt for divorce by mutual consent.
When is at-fault divorce recommended?
Determination of fault for the marital breakdown is recommended if such fault rests with one spouse only. Adjudication of fault is not only symbolic, but also affects the maintenance obligations of the spouses. The spouse who has been deemed as solely guilty of the breakdown is obliged to provide the other spouse with means of subsistence not only if the other spouse has become impoverished but also if his/her financial situation has significantly deteriorated as a result of divorce. The obligation provide subsistence continues for five years following the divorce, unless it applies to the spouse who has been deemed guilty of the marital breakdown. Moreover, such spouse may not claim any maintenance from the non-guilty spouse, even if s/he has become impoverished.
We offer our clients legal advice in divorce matters, help them to file a petition for divorce and represent them before courts.