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Divorce and property division

How do we get separated or divorced?

A marriage can be dissolved by separation or divorce. If you and your spouse agree to the separation or divorce and the conditions for it, you can get a separation or divorce without negotiating the conditions in the State Administration. In order to get separated or divorced you need to agree on whether you should pay to or receive alimony from your spouse, and who is to remain in your rented apartment or house, if any.

The marriage is not dissolved until the State Administration has issued a divorce decree or the court has delivered judgment, and not until then the mutual support obligation and the right of inheritance will cease.

As a consequence of the dissolution of the marriage, your joint estates must be divided. The joint estates are the assets each of you own at the time when the State Administration receives your petition for separation or divorce (discontinuation date).

The actual property division

When it has been finally determined which assets are to be included in the joint estates, the division of the property can be made. The most difficult issues in this connection, which often give rise to great difficulties, are valuation, tax, pensions, businesses, rented apartments or houses, etc.

Disputes regarding property division

If you cannot agree on the division of the joint estates, then the matter may be brought before the Probate Court.

The Probate Court will then summon you for a meeting during which your assets and liabilities will be reviewed, and the issues you disagree on will also be discussed. The Probate Court will try to help you solve your disagreements in order for you to reach a settlement on the property division. The matter will be closed at the meeting, provided that you arrive at a compromise.

In the event that you do not come to an agreement, the Probate Court may – upon request – refer the matter to an authorised administrator.

Custody and residence of child

In connection with the discontinuance of cohabitation/separation you need to make a decision as to your children.

As parents, you generally have joint custody. Joint custody means that you must agree on essential decisions regarding your children, including decisions on choice of school, after-school care facilities, moving abroad, choice of name, religious belief, and risk-bearing leisure activities.

What is a residential parent?

The residential parent is the parent with residential custody of the child. The residential parent is also the parent receiving the public subsidies (child benefits).

The residential parent is also the parent who makes the day-to-day decisions for the child, however, the parents must agree on greater decisions regarding the child, including choice of school, whether the child is to be confirmed or not, whether the child is to attend a continuation school, as well as treatment of diseases.

The parent, who is not the residential parent, is the contact parent.

Disputes regarding place of residence of the children, custody or parenting time

In the event that you cannot agree on joint custody or place of residence and parenting time, you must contact the State Administration at the website

The State Administration will then summon you to a meeting for the purpose of finding the best possible solution for your child. If a solution is not found, then the State Administration must offer conciliation meetings or child expert counselling.

If, despite of this, you have still not come to an agreement, then either of you may request that the matter regarding custody and/or place of residence is brought before the court.

If you cannot agree on the extent of the parenting time, then the State Administration will make a decision in the matter. This decision may be appealed to the Social Appeals Board if you disagree with it.

Payment of child support

The State Administration will also decide whether a parent fulfils his/her duty to support the child. In the event that the Administration reaches the conclusion that the duty is not fulfilled, the parent in question is ordered to pay child support based on his/her income. If the child lives half of the time with one parent and half of the time with the other parent, then you will, in most cases, be deemed to have fulfilled your duty to support your child.

Kirk Larsen & Ascanius’ department of private law is highly specialised and has many years of experience in advice on civil law issues, including questions regarding property division in connection with separation, divorce or discontinuance of cohabitation as well as custody, place of residence, and parenting time.

You are welcome to contact us for further information.

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