12. 4. 2024

Divorce proceedings in the Czech Republic – What to expect from the court hearing

A marriage in the Czech Republic may be divorce only by the court. This article provides general information about the divorce court hearing and also explains when the parties might expect a divorce without a day in court.

Amicable and contentious divorce

Czech law distinguishes two types of divorce: amicable divorce and contentious divorce.

Contentious divorce takes place when the couple fails to reach agreement on any of the key parts of divorce.

Amicable divorce is possible when both husband and wife are in agreement about getting divorced as well as the key aspects regarding their children, property, etc.

Amicable divorce is possible when:

  • the marriage has lasted for more than a year and the married couple does not live together for more than six months (i.e. the couple may be occupying the same flat, but for all practical purposes they do not form a family unit anymore),
  • in case of common children, the parents have reached an agreement regarding post-divorce care of a child and court has approved such agreement,
  • the couple have agreed on issues pertaining to their common property, housing and as the case may be also alimony.

There are two main practical differences between the two types of divorce:

  • Number of proceedings: In case of contentious divorce, all divorce-related issues must be solved by court in separate proceedings (typically with a different judge for each). These may concern (1) child custody, (2) spousal alimony, (3) divorce, (4) ex-spousal alimony, (5) settlement of marital property, and possibly other, e.g. (6) settlement of co-ownership (concerning property gained together before the marriage). Most of these don’t run concurrently but in sequence, making a divorce up to or even more than a half-a-decade enterprise with multitude of court hearings in each. Meanwhile in amicable divorce all issues are solved by written agreement of the spouses and it typically involves only two very short (up to 30 minutes) court hearings on (1) child custody and (2) divorce.
  • Ruling on grounds of marriage failure. Unless the parties agree on a reason for divorce, the court is bound to conduct evidentiary phase focused on finding the causes of divorce. This has no practical implications, but can become time and especially emotionally consuming.

Your day in court

This article is focused only on the divorce itself, not any of the possible divorce-related proceedings. These are the main options of what you can expect from “your day in court”.

  • Contentious divorce: Lengthy court proceeding (even longer if translators are present) with detailed testimony of the spouses. The spouse may also propose other evidence to prove that the other is liable for the failure of the marriage, e.g. witnesses, police reports, infraction or criminal records, video evidence, etc. The judge will usually try to have the case closed during a single court day, however there is also the possibility of multiple court hearing taking place.
  • Contentious divorce with mutual agreement on grounds of divorce: The judge will usually try to avoid the option #1 above by explaining to the parties what may lie ahead. As there is no practical consequence to the ruling on grounds of failure of marriage, sometimes there is a last-minute change of heart, whereby the parties both claim “mutual and irreparable loss of emotional connection and trust” as reason for divorce. This allows the case to be closed within an hour.
  • Amicable divorce with a court hearing: The judge reviews the written divorce agreement of the parties and asks both spouses whether they (A) deem the marriage irreparably ruined and (B) insist on getting divorced. The hearing usually lasts up to 30 minutes.
  • Amicable divorce without a court hearing: Under law, the court is bound to hear the spouses, “unless it would be extraordinarily difficult”. Interpretation of what may constitute extraordinary difficulties varies. The practice in this regard may be different not only among various courts, but also among the judges of the same courthouse. Typically, in case where one of the spouses is difficult to reach or may face difficulties to appear at court (e.g. has moved abroad), the judge may forego a court hearing. For this to happen, it is important for both parties to be represented by a separate attorney (to whom the judge can always easily deliver correspondence and judgement), and for the attorneys to prepare and provide the correct paperwork.

Entering courthouse and rules of conduct in the court room

For issues regarding rules of conduct, please read article: Guide to a Czech courtroom: Rules of conduct during a court hearing in Prague and beyond.


If you are considering getting a divorce in the Czech Republic, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Tomáš Gawron, advokát – Prague based attorney.

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Tomáš Gawron, advokát

Drtinova 557/10

150 00 Praha 5

I am available at the office subject to previous appointment only.

Tel.: +420 732 32 36 38

Email: advokat@gawron.cz

Data box: a44qpi2

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Mgr. Tomáš Gawron, LL.M., advokát      |      Reg. No. of Czech Bar Association: 16826      |      Company ID: 04836880