The divorce laws in Latvia offer the option of a simple, administrative divorce if you can agree on a range of issues with your ex-spouse. If you can’t agree, you will have to go through the family court procedure. So how does divorce work in regards to Latvia? What are the grounds for divorce? How are child custody and contact arranged following the end of your marriage? And how are assets and property split after a divorce in Latvia? Here we discuss these issues and more.
Divorce laws and grounds for divorce in Latvia
If you and your spouse agree to the divorce, you don’t have to go through the court procedure. A notary public can end your marriage as long as the two of you submit a joint divorce application and you agree on:
- how you will divide your shared assets and property
- child custody, residence and contact arrangements
- child support and/or spousal maintenance payments.
If one of you files for divorce, or if you don’t agree on child or financial issues, a court can grant your divorce if you have lived separately for at least three years.
Even if you share a home, a court will consider that you have been separated as long as you can prove you live apart. You may have to demonstrate that you have separate finances and living arrangements, and that you do your own cooking, washing and cleaning.
If you have been separated for less than three years, then your divorce will only be granted in the following circumstances:
- you consent to the divorce
- there has been physical, psychological or economic violence towards you or your children by your spouse
- your spouse has started to live with another person, and they have either had a child or are expecting a child.
If none of the above apply then your divorce will not be granted until you have been separated for three years. In exceptional circumstances your divorce may also not be granted if the court believe it is not in your child’s best interests.
A court can also order a reconciliation period of up to six months.
Child custody and contact arrangements following divorce in Latvia
If you divorce by mutual consent using a notary, you have to provide a written agreement on the custody, support, residence and contact arrangements for any children. Your divorce will not be granted without this agreement.
If you don’t agree, a court will have to make an order. A court will not grant your divorce without ensuring arrangements for your children are in place.
In Latvia, your responsibility to care for your child continues after divorce. Both parents retain the right to an input on important decisions that affect your child, although the parent with whom the child is living is responsible for the child’s day-to-day care.
Your responsibility for supporting your child financially continues after divorce. You can agree this support directly with the other parent or the court will decide. Child maintenance must be determined before your divorce will be granted.
The amount of support will be determined by the care arrangements for your child, your personal circumstances and the ability to pay.
Latvia is party to both the Hague Convention on Child Abduction and the Brussels IIa regulations. This means that if your child is taken out of Latvia without your permission, you can apply to the relevant authority for their safe return.
Similarly, if your child is taken to Latvia from another EU or Convention country, you can use the official framework to ensure they are returned safely to your ‘home’ country.
How is property divided and maintenance agreed on divorce in Latvia?
If you divorce by mutual consent, then you will have to provide a written agreement to the notary concerning the division of your assets.
When dividing property in divorce in Latvia, the court will consider that property acquired before you got married, and property you acquired solely during your marriage, is retained by you. You must prove that any property is ‘separate’ and was acquired by you alone.
All property acquired jointly during the marriage is your joint property and the court assumes this belongs to you both equally.
On divorce, you can claim support from the other spouse if they contributed to the end of your marriage and if the support is necessary to maintain your standard of living. This will be based on the other party’s ability to pay.
Note that the obligation of a party to ensure the previous level of welfare of a former spouse ends when:
- the party receiving support remarries
- the time that has passed since the divorce is the same as the duration of your marriage
- the person receiving support earns enough income to be self-sufficient
- the person paying the maintenance does not have the means to pay them or cannot work through incapacity
- the spouse receiving maintenance commits a crime against the other party or against one of their relatives
- the person receiving maintenance lives ‘wastefully or immorally’
- either party dies.
Do you need help with your divorce?
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