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Question

I am an Armenian woman with tolerated stay in Poland. I am married to an Armenian man. I live in Poland, but he has been gone for 6 years. Can I file a petition for legal separation in Poland?

Answer

According to art. 11031 § 1 point 1 and 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure, marital affairs such as adjudicating separation between persons who are not Polish citizens, fall within the national jurisdiction of Polish courts (meaning that a foreigner can file a petition for legal separation) if the following are true:

  • Both spouses’ last place of domicile or last place of ordinary stay was in the Republic of Poland, and one of them still has a place of domicile or ordinary stay in the Republic of Poland; or
  • The spouse who is the plaintiff (that is, the one who files the petition for separation to the court) has had a place of domicile or ordinary stay in the Republic of Poland for at least a year immediately before the start of the procedure.

“If you meet one of the above conditions, you can file a petition for legal separation in Poland,” says Jagoda Bąk, a lawyer with the Women’s Rights Center (Centrum Praw Kobiet), an organisation offering advice and help in various life situations.

“A petition for separation is filed in two copies to the district court in whose jurisdiction the spouses have a joint place of domicile, or without such a basis, to the appropriate court for their joint place of stay,” says Jagoda Bąk.

If the spouses do not have a joint place of domicile or stay, the petition should be filed with the court appropriate to one of the spouses (the court for the place of domicile or stay of the plaintiff), to the civil department.

The petition should include the following documents: a marriage certificate and a document confirming legal stay in Poland. If you have children, you should include their birth certificates.

Furthermore, the petition requires the submission of other documents to which the plaintiff refers in the petitition – such as documents justifying his or her decision on the necessity of separation. The plaintiff may also list potential witnesses to testify in the proceedings. A petition for divorce carries a court fee of 600 PLN. This fee must be paid by the party filing the petition, although the court may decide to return this fee to the plaintiff from the defendant if it accepts the petition, in accordance with a request indicated in the petition (court fees may also be shared between the parties e.g. in the case of a divorce without a judgement of fault).

If no fee is paid, the court will not hear the petition. We are grateful to the Women’s Rights Center for preparing this information.

The Women’s Rights Center invites foreign women in need to make use of its counselling on matters related to civil law. Contact: www.cpk.org.pl.

Translation by Zuzanna Olszewska.

Answer date:

2009-09-10 15:47:54

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