Jurisdiction of divorce cases

Jurisdiction of divorce cases

It is not always possible to dissolve a marriage administratively by submitting a corresponding application to the civil registry office. The Family Code of Ukraine defines the grounds on which the divorce procedure occurs exclusively by applying to the judicial authorities. There are several of them:

  • presence of common minor children in the family;
  • disagreement of one of the spouses to separate;
  • evasion of one of the spouses from divorce in the registry office, when this is permitted by law.

Where to file for divorce: jurisdiction

In order to submit documents for divorce, you first need to determine which court has jurisdiction over the matter. The jurisdiction of civil cases, including those related to divorce, is regulated by the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine. Divorce cases are subject to the jurisdiction of courts of general jurisdiction and are heard in district (city) courts. There is also territorial, contractual and exclusive jurisdiction.

There are some restrictions on a man’s rights to file a claim for divorce. The legislation defines specific cases when the husband cannot initiate divorce proceedings: if the wife is pregnant or their common child is not yet one year old.


Citizen S. decided to separate from his wife after four years of marriage. Since they had a child in January, and his wife spoke out against the divorce, a month later he filed documents for divorce in the court at the place where they lived together.

During the review of the submitted documents, the judge found out that in addition to the recently born child, the wife of citizen S. is in the second month of pregnancy. Therefore, the plaintiff was denied acceptance of his statement of claim for two reasons:

  • one year has not yet passed since the birth of their common child;
  • wife’s pregnancy.

Jurisdiction for divorce: legislation

The law allows the combination of several claims in one statement of claim. Therefore, along with the issue of divorce, the issue of collecting alimony from spouses with whom the child will not live after the divorce can also be considered.

Along with a properly executed statement of claim, the following documents are submitted to the court:

  • a receipt for payment of the court fee, the amount of which for 2021 is 908 UAH., 00 kopecks;
  • identification document of the plaintiff;
  • marriage certificate;
  • children’s birth certificate;
  • notarized consent to divorce from the second man, if there are no objections on his part;
  • certificates or other documents confirming the income of the plaintiff and defendant, if a claim is made for the collection of alimony for minor children;
  • an agreement on the payment of alimony, certified by a notary, if the parties were able to voluntarily agree.

Determination of jurisdiction for divorce

The court has the right to request other documents from the parties. Everything will depend on the specific circumstances of the case at hand.

An application for divorce must be submitted either by the plaintiff himself or with the help of a qualified lawyer or attorney. It is presented at the defendant’s place of residence. However, the norms laid down in the articles of the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine allow the plaintiff in certain cases to file a claim at his place of residence. This is possible if:

  • minor children live with him and are supported by him;
  • due to health reasons, it is difficult for him to get to court at the defendant’s place of residence.

A judge, during the preparation of a divorce case, studying and analyzing all the circumstances and evidence presented by the parties to it, or already during the trial, has the right to take measures aimed at reconciling the spouses. This mainly happens in cases where one of the spouses does not give his consent to the divorce, and the other does not really insist on it. They are then given a period of less than six months (the period during which they can reconcile and change their mind about divorce).

If this does not happen, regardless of whether the spouses or only one of them agree to divorce, the judge is forced to consider the case on its merits and make an appropriate decision.

Procedural legislation establishes that the court must begin consideration of the case on the merits no later than sixty days from the date of opening of the proceedings. In practice, such deadlines are often not met due to the postponement of hearings due to the failure of the defendant to appear, the establishment of a deadline for reconciliation of spouses, or other circumstances related to the consideration of the case.

Jurisdiction for divorce

Often during a divorce, spouses have a dispute about their minor children. This may concern the question of which parent they will live with in the future, as well as nuances related to their upbringing, the procedure for paying and the amount of alimony for their maintenance. In such cases, the case of divorce takes on different dimensions.

The filing of a statement of claim is carried out in the manner prescribed by the Civil Procedure Code of Ukraine. The claim is accompanied by a list of required documents, which is formed depending on the subject of the dispute. If unresolved issues concern children, then documents are needed to support arguments about who the children should live with after their parents’ divorce, what maintenance should be paid to the other parent, and the like.

Additionally, it can be noted that after accepting the application, the court must open proceedings in the case within five days from the date of receipt of the statement of claim.

  • The legislation of Ukraine provides for a two-month period from the date of acceptance of the claim by the district court, during which a trial must be scheduled and conducted. After clarifying the factual circumstances of the case, having listened to both sides of the process, and having read all the documents presented, the court can make a decision immediately if the spouses insist on divorce and they have reached an agreement on the maintenance of their minor children.
  • If one of the parties does not give its consent to the divorce, and the judge provides for the possibility of reconciliation between the spouses, then the judge has the right to postpone the process and set a deadline for them to reconcile. In this case, the question of the defendant’s participation in the maintenance of children must be clarified while the case is pending in court.В случае примирения супругов судебное производство прекращается, в противном случае – принимается соответствующее решение по каждому исковому требованию.

The marriage will be considered dissolved from the day when the court decision comes into force, after which it is issued to the spouses to register the divorce in the registry office where their marriage was registered. We remind you that since July 27, 2010, a divorce certificate (based on a court decision) is not issued.

The court decision can be appealed by any party on appeal, but before it enters into legal force (within 30 days from the date of its adoption).

End of marriage

The termination of a marriage must be due to certain legally confirmed circumstances. Contains the grounds due to which a marriage between spouses can be terminated. There are several of them:

  • death of one of the spouses;
  • declaration by the judicial authority of one of the spouses as deceased;
  • divorce.

In the first case, the marriage ends on the date of death of one of the spouses. The supporting document is the corresponding certificate issued by the civil registry office.

In the second case, in order to obtain a death certificate for a man, you need to have a court decision that has entered into legal force, after which the marriage will be considered terminated.

There are several nuances related to the date of death of a citizen. If he goes missing and there is no information about him for three years, he is declared dead by a court decision. If a person disappeared under circumstances providing for his death, and nothing is known about him for six months, then the court will recognize him as dead.

However, in both cases, as stated above, the marriage is terminated only from the date the court decision enters into legal force.

In the third case, the marriage will be terminated only after its dissolution, either administratively – in the registry office, or judicially – by a court decision. The actual living of spouses apart from each other, even for a long time, does not legally terminate the marriage.

Distribution of property

During a divorce, the property interests of the parties are almost always the subject of dispute. It is clear that a man and a woman, living as one family, acquire real and movable things, which are their common property and, according to the legislation of Ukraine, are considered property acquired jointly in marriage.

According to the norms of the current legislation of Ukraine, the common property of the spouses acquired during their legal marriage is divided into two equal parts in the event of a divorce. This occurs unless there is a marriage contract or a court decision that states otherwise.

If the spouses have a question about the division of property, and they could not agree on their own (conclude a deal), then this process takes place in court. You can file a corresponding statement of claim before or after the divorce, or you can submit your demands on this issue simultaneously with the claim for divorce.

A claim for division of property is filed in court, regardless of whether the spouses have a dispute about children or there is no such dispute. In this case, the package of documents must be accompanied by a description of all jointly acquired property subject to division, as well as documents establishing or certifying their value and the fact that they were acquired during the marriage.

Most often, the subject of dispute between spouses during a divorce is housing: an apartment or a house. Therefore, if the claim contains, in addition to an application for divorce, also an application for the division of real estate, then it must be submitted to the judicial authority at the location of this real estate, regardless of where the defendant lives.

The parties to the process need to be prepared for the fact that they will have to defend their right to a particular share in the property. This is especially true for spouses who have minor children. Since the court, as a rule, divides the common property in half, it can, however, take into account the interests of the children and allocate a larger share to the parents with whom they remain to live after the divorce.

There are cases where, within the framework of one lawsuit, it is difficult to simultaneously make a decision on divorce, collection of alimony and division of property. Then the court separates the consideration of these claims into separate proceedings.

It should be noted that when submitting claim documents to the judicial authority for one of the listed claims or for all of them at once, the court fee is paid separately for divorce (we talked about the amount of this fee above), and separately for the division of property (the amount of the fee is determined by the price of the claim).

Determining the jurisdiction of a divorce case, in essence, is a determination in which specific court of first instance it will be considered.

Questions from our readers and answers from a lawyer

My husband and I lived together for ten years, of which we were legally married for 7 years. We have two minor children – five and seven years old. We live in a three-room apartment, which we purchased during our marriage. Our common property includes a car and a summer cottage. A person works in a private company, so his salary depends on its financial capabilities. He also earns money on the side. I’m going to file for divorce and alimony and property division at the same time. Since the man is against my decision, and I insist on divorce, please tell me the procedure for my actions.

Taking into account two circumstances that:

  • firstly, your spouse is against divorce and, accordingly, will not file an application for divorce with you,
    secondly, you have two minor children, then based on the provisions of the divorce in your case, it will be carried out in court.
  • based on the information you described, the value of the jointly acquired property subject to division significantly exceeds the amount established for consideration of this issue by the judge. Due to your man’s unstable earnings and the fact that he has two sources of income.

Therefore, you need to apply to the court at the location of the main property – an apartment that is part of the divisible movable and immovable property – for demands for divorce, collection of alimony and division of common property, combined into one statement of claim. In your situation, it coincides with the place of residence of the man who will be the defendant in the case and yours with his minor children.

I want to leave my wife, with whom we have not lived together for half a year, despite the fact that we have a common son, who is now 6 months old. Tell me, please, to get a divorce, do I need to go to the registry office or to the court?

According to the Family Code of Ukraine, a man does not have the right to file for divorce from his wife if they have a common child under one year of age.


A civil case of divorce, respectively, cases arising from it, for example, the collection of alimony for minor children and the division of common property of spouses, fall within the competence of the courts. Where exactly this case will be heard depends on several factors:

  • the spouses have a dispute about children;
  • the method of establishing alimony – as a share of the taxpayer’s earnings (income) or in a fixed amount of money;
  • the value of the property to be distributed.

In addition, when filing a claim, it is important to correctly determine the territorial jurisdiction of the case under consideration.

Services of a family lawyer

A family lawyer will provide you with legal advice and help you draw up all the necessary documents to determine the jurisdiction of the divorce case.

We are responsible for the quality of legal services and guarantee a positive result.

With the help of the services of a family lawyer or lawyer, your case of determining the jurisdiction of the divorce case will be resolved more professionally and quickly.

By contacting us, you are guaranteed to receive professional legal assistance in determining the jurisdiction of a divorce case.

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