When marriage becomes unbearable: Restraining order and preliminary injunction for alimony prior to divorce in the Czech Republic
There are several articles on my website dedicated to procedural and material issues concerning divorce in the Czech Republic. Sometimes circumstances require immediate relief before formal divorce proceedings can be started. That typically happens in cases of abusive behavior that may have either violent nature or may be done through denial of funds. Another typical case concerns preliminary injunction on custody, but that will be described in a separate article.
Child custody, divorce and alimony
- For general introduction into divorce proceedings, please read the article: Basic information about divorce proceedings in the Czech Republic.
- For general introduction into spousal alimony, please read the article: Attorney’s introduction into spousal alimony payments after divorce in the Czech Republic.
- For a specialist legal explanation of jurisdiction and governing law on divorce, please read the article: Expat divorce in the Czech Republic: Court jurisdiction and governing law of divorce proceedings.
- For a specialist legal explanation of jurisdiction and governing law on separation of common property, please read the article: Expat divorce in the Czech Republic: Jurisdiction and law governing separation of matrimonial property.
Restraining order in the Czech Republic
Immediate restraining order issued by a police officer on spot
Act No. 273/2008 Coll., on Police of the Czech Republic, art. 44 gives every policeman the authority to issue immediate restraining order in case that established facts, especially previous attacks, give reason to expect that a person may commit dangerous attack against life, health of freedom or especially serious attack against human dignity. An officer may issue a restraining order also in absence of the person obliged by it.
A person against which a restraining order was issued must:
- immediately leave premises determined by the police officer in the restraining order (typically home and its surroundings) and refrain from reentering them
- refrain from contacting the threatened person
- surrender all keys to home to the police officer.
While leaving, the person has right to take objects of personal or professional use and may file a protest against the restraining order. A protest will then be forwarded to Regional Police HQ for review of the grounds of restraining order.
Police restraining order is valid for a period of 10 days which may not be shortened even by request of a threatened person. Breaching of restraining order is a crime punishable by up to two years of imprisonment. Repeated breach of restraining order may lead also to pre-trial detention (immediate jailing).
In case that the threatened person files a request for injunctive restraining order with appropriate court, immediate police restraining order remains in force until court makes decision on the request (i.e. beyond the limit of 10 days).
Preliminary injunctive restraining order against domestic abuse issued by a Czech court
Notwithstanding whether there was immediate restraining order issued by police, a threatened person may seek preliminary injunctive restraining order to be issued by the appropriate court. Court must make decision within 48 hours. If granted, restraining order is valid immediately for a period of one month. The person against whom the restraining order was issued may file appeal, however that doesn’t affect execution of the order. The decision on appeal must be made within 21 days at the latest.
Such restraining order may be issued not only in order to keep an abusive partner out of common dwelling, but also against a stalker. A person filing for restraining order must specify nature of physical or psychological abuse that they suffer from the person against whom they seek the restraining order.
Restraining order issued by the court is valid for a period of one month. If there was also police restraining order, the period will be one month + number of days left on the police restraining order. A threatened person may file for extension of the restraining order before the original one expired. A court must make decision on extension within two months and the original one remains valid until such a decision is rendered. While deciding on extension, the court will take into account not only question of whether the threatened person is still in danger, but also ownership or similar (tenancy) rights to the common dwelling and existence of other ongoing court cases between the parties (e.g. divorce proceedings).
Filing preliminary injunction for alimony in the Czech Republic
Expat marriages often include disparity in income between partners. Often whole family moves to a foreign country to follow job opportunity of a spouse, while the other spouse is left with meagre chances of meaningful employment. Or they may outright decide on traditional model of one working spouse and the other taking care of home and family.
This can put the spouse that is left without significant income in a precarious position when thinking about divorce. That may be somewhat remedied by filing for injunction on alimony. A decision must be made within seven days of filing and it is enforceable immediately. Generally, spouses have right for equal standard of living. In case of alimony, injunction may be awarded only in “necessary amount”. I.e. a spouse must prove what funding is necessary for them to pull through until final decision on alimony.
It is also important to note that a spouse has right for alimony notwithstanding whether they intent to divorce. It is possible to demand alimony in amount that will provide “equal standard of living” for as long as the marriage lasts (and in special divorce cases for up to three years after it ended). Also in these cases preliminary injunction may be afforded in “necessary amount”.
If you are considering getting a divorce in the Czech Republic, don’t hesitate to contact me.