In Slovakia marriage may only be dissolved by a court.
A court may dissolve a marriage in response to a petition by one of the spouses, provided relations between the spouses are so seriously and permanently impaired that the marriage can no longer serve its purpose and the spouses cannot be expected to resume marital cohabitation.
The court establishes the causes for the breakdown of relations between the spouses and takes them into account when deciding on the divorce. When deciding on a divorce the court always takes into account the interests of any minor children.
A spouse who took the other spouse’s surname on marrying may notify the registry office of the resumption of the premarriage surname, within three months following the final decision on the divorce.
A spouse who took the other spouse’s surname on marrying and retained the pre-marriage surname as a second surname may notify the registry office that they will no longer be using the spouse’s surname, within three months following the final decision on the divorce.
The community property regime is dissolved on divorce, and matters are settled in accordance with the principles set out in Section 150 of the Civil Code (Občiansky zákonník). The community property regime may be settled by: (a) agreement; (b) judicial decision; (c) the lapse of a period of time.
In the decision on the divorce of the parents of a minor child, the court lays down the parents’ rights and duties concerning the minor child for the period after the divorce, in particular which parent will have custody of the child, act as the child’s legal guardian and administer the child’s property. The decision on the parents’ rights and obligations may be replaced by an agreement between the parents.
Where the parents do not reach an agreement on rights of access to a minor child, the court lays down the parents’ rights of access in the divorce decision. Where necessary the court will restrict a parent’s rights of access or prohibit access, if this is in the child’s interests.
The court also stipulates how the parent who was not granted custody of the child will contribute to the child’s maintenance; alternatively the court will approve an agreement between the parents on the level of maintenance.
A divorced spouse who is unable to provide for him or herself may request from the ex-spouse a contribution towards his or her appropriate maintenance, in line with what the ex-spouse can afford. If the spouses fail to agree, a court will decide on the size of the maintenance payments in response to a petition from one of the spouses.
Slovak law does not provide for legal separation.
In addition to divorce, a marriage can also be declared invalid in a judicial decision. Such marriage is deemed not to have been concluded from the very beginning (matrimonium nullum). The court may also declare that the marriage never existed (non matrimonium).
a. The grounds on which a marriage may be annulled are:
If a marriage is concluded despite being void on one of the above grounds, it is deemed to exist until a judicial decision annulling it becomes final.
b. A marriage is void if the declaration on the conclusion of marriage:
A marriage that a court has judged invalid is deemed not to have been concluded.
Following the court’s decision annulling their marriage, the spouses’ property relations and their rights and duties concerning their child are governed by the provisions on divorced spouses’ property relations and rights and duties concerning children. Following the decision annulling their marriage the spouses’ declaration on their common surname is also annulled and they are obliged to use their original surnames.
Only a court can declare a marriage dissolved. Related matters can be resolved by the application of Mediation Act No 420/2004 (zákon č. 420/2004 Z.z. o mediácii).
Petitions for divorce, marriage annulment or declarations that a marriage is void are lodged with a district court (okresný súd).
The court with jurisdiction for proceedings is the court in whose district the spouses had their most recent shared residence in Slovakia, provided at least one of the spouses lives in the court’s district. If no such court exists, the general court (všeobecný súd) of the respondent has jurisdiction, or if no such court exists either, the general court of the petitioner.
A petition must include the particulars stipulated by Sections 42(3) and 79(1) of the Code of Civil Procedure (Občiansky súdny poriadok).
It must be evident from the petition which court it is addressed to, who the petitioner is, what it concerns and what the petition seeks, and it must be signed and dated. In addition the petition must list the parties’ first names, surnames and places of residence (and the same for their representatives, if they have them), their nationality, a faithful account of the key facts and a list of the evidence the petitioner is relying on; the petition should also make it clear what the petitioner seeks.
The petitioner must enclose with the petition the documentary evidence he or she is relying on, other than evidence that cannot be enclosed through no fault of the petitioner’s.
The petition must be lodged with the requisite number of duplicates and annexes, such that the court retains one copy and each party receives a copy as necessary. If the party fails to provide the requisite number of duplicates and annexes, the court will make copies at the party’s expense.
The provision of legal aid is governed by Act No 327/2005 on the Provision of Legal Aid for People in Material Need (zákon č. 327/2005 Z.z. o poskytovaní právnej pomoci osobám v materiálnej núdzi).
A court fee is paid for divorce proceedings. A party to the proceedings may request that court fees be waived.
On the basis of a petition the court may exempt a party from court fees in part or in full, if the party’s circumstances so warrant, and provided this does not concern the arbitrary or patently unsuccessful exercise or defence of a right. Unless the court decides otherwise, the exemption applies to the entire proceedings, and it also applies retrospectively; however fees paid before the decision on exemption will not be refunded.
An appeal may be lodged against the decision within 30 days of its service.
It is necessary to lodge a petition for the recognition of the decision. The Regional Court (Krajský súd) in Bratislava has jurisdiction.
Final decisions in matrimonial matters issued in other Member States (except Denmark) after 1 May 2004 are recognised pursuant to Council Regulation (EC) No 2201/2003 of 27 November 2003 concerning jurisdiction and the recognition and enforcement of judgments in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, repealing Regulation (EC) No 1347/2000. Decisions are recognised without any special proceedings; in particular there is no special procedure for amending an entry in a registry office’s records. However an interested party may apply for a special decision to be issued on the recognition of a decision on matrimonial matters made in another Member State. The Regional Court in Bratislava has jurisdiction for the recognition of decisions made in other Member States.
Regarding decisions issued in Denmark, or in other Member States before 1 May 2004, a petition must be lodged for the recognition of a final decision in matrimonial matters made in another Member State, provided at least one of the parties is a Slovak national. These proceedings are initiated by a petition, which may be lodged by a person designated a party in the decision made in another Member State. The Regional Court in Bratislava has jurisdiction for the recognition of decisions made in other Member States.
An appeal may be lodged against a decision on the recognition or non-recognition of a decision made in another Member State. An appeal is lodged with the Regional Court in Bratislava, and the Supreme Court (Najvyšší súd) rules on the appeal.
The dissolution of marriage by divorce is governed by the law of the State of which the spouses were nationals when proceedings were initiated. If the spouses are of different nationalities, the dissolution of marriage by divorce is governed by Slovak law.
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