We are a well-known family law firm specialising in international divorce. We have the resources to represent clients from across the world in order to advise them on how to divorce under English law. Individuals with a Croatian background who live in the UK or individuals who are married to a Croatian national or who got married in Croatia might be interested in some of the aspects of Croatian divorce and family law discussed below.
Grounds For Croatian Divorce
Divorce in Croatia is regulated by the Family Proceedings Act, 2015 (‘the Act’). The legislation represents a major overhaul of the law on divorce, notably in relation to arrangements for children. Under Article 51 of the Act there are three ways to divorce:
- By agreement
- If there is a determination that the marital relationship has broken down ‘severely and permanently’
- If a year has passed since the ‘termination of the marital union’
Note that a husband cannot seek a divorce if his wife is pregnant. He can only do so after the child’s first birthday.
Family mediation – where parties attempt to settle all areas of dispute with the input of a family mediator – is greatly encouraged in Croatia. Mediation can deal with all aspects of divorce, including division of property, child arrangements and maintenance.
How Is Property Divided In A Croatian Divorce?
Generally speaking the rules about property ownership and division on divorce in Croatia are similar to several other European counties, including Germany, Denmark and France.
Under the Act spouses are deemed to be joint owners of joint property in equal shares – but they can both agree to opt out of this regime before or during the marriage. Any agreement must be formally notarised and can cover property that’s currently owned as well as property acquired in the future.
Can A Spouse Apply For Maintenance?
Yes, maintenance can be applied for up to six months after the divorce proceedings have ended. The spouse claiming maintenance needs to show:
- He or she lacks sufficient means to support him or herself
- There are no assets that can be sold to meet needs
- That he or she is unable to find employment
If awarded, maintenance may be paid as a lump sum or as regular payments but it will always be payable for a fixed period only. The rules regarding maintenance under English law are far less limiting, and maintenance can in some situations be paid for many years after divorce for cases handled in this country.
What About Children In Croatian Divorce?
The Act seeks to help parents agree between themselves all matters relating to children. It also strengthens the procedural rights of children in divorce cases by introducing:
- Mandatory counselling
- Mandatory family mediation
- Parenting plans
- Neutral legal terminology
The Act also highlights the importance of cooperation and communication between parents
If parents can’t reach agreement, court proceedings will be necessary. In such cases the children are formally recognised as parties to the proceedings – they have a right to be heard and will be represented by a special guardian.
Getting Advice On Croatian Family Law
If there is a Croatian aspect to your divorce, it’s important to get expert advice. Brookman understands the issues that arise in cross-border divorces and the potential obstacles you might need to confront. This means we can provide practical and strategic advice as soon as you consult us. Even if we have not had direct experience in Croatia our expertise in dealing with a variety of legal systems gives us the ability to deal effectively with the rules and legislation in force there.
If you think your spouse may issue proceedings before you, get urgent advice. Often the country that receives notification of proceedings first has the right to decide all matters in your divorce. This could significantly affect the outcome of your case.
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