In line with many European countries, Romania offers both a divorce by mutual consent and a contested divorce. Child custody matters are at the centre of any divorce agreement, while the court also has powers to divide your assets. Romania is also unusual in that it provides protection for a fiancé in the event of an engagement being ended.
Divorce laws and grounds for divorce in Romania
If you have been married for at least a year and you have no children, you can divorce in Romania by mutual consent.
After you have petitioned for your divorce the civil officer will set a 30-day ‘thinking period’ in which you can consider your decision. At the end of the 30-day period, the divorce will go through if that is what you still want.
If you do have children, you can still divorce by mutual consent. However, you will have to agree on all the following issues:
- Your names after the divorce
- How you will both exercise your parental responsibility for your child
- Where your child will live
- How you will communicate and cooperate with each other and your child
- Your financial contributions to support your child.
If you don’t agree on all of the above matters, your divorce application will be rejected.
If you can’t agree, or if just one of you files for divorce, you will have to go through a ‘contested divorce’ procedure. Here, you must provide grounds for divorce and show that continuation of your marriage is no longer possible. Grounds for divorce in Romania include:
- Unreasonable behaviour (either physical or moral)
- Refusal of one spouse to live with the other/desertion
- Existence of a serious, incurable disease if you were unaware of this before the marriage and that makes continuing in the marriage impossible.
If applying to a Romanian court for divorce, you must prove one of the grounds for divorce.
Child custody arrangements following divorce in Romania
Even if you don’t make an application to the court regarding arrangements for your child in divorce, the court is required to make an award. Any decision made is based on the best interests of your child, and your child’s wishes will be considered if they are aged 10 or over.
Parental authority will normally remain with both parents, although the court can elect to award parental authority to just one parent if it feels this is in your child’s interests.
As well as deciding on both residence and contact with the non-resident parent, the court can also rule on maintenance and support payments.
It is against the law to remove your child from Romania without the consent of both parents.
However, Romania is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Child Abduction. This means that if your child is taken out of Romania to another Convention country, or from another Convention country to Romania, you can apply to an authority to have your child quickly and safely returned to their normal country of domicile.
Financial settlements on separation during engagement
Romania is unusual in that their civil code also includes protection for engaged couples, not just married couples.
For example, if you call off an engagement and end your relationship, you must compensate the other party for any expenses related to the planned marriage. You must also return any engagement gifts.
How a financial settlement is agreed on divorce in Romania
On divorce in Romania, you can divide your assets by mutual agreement. Alternatively, or if you can’t agree, you can apply to the court for a decision either during the divorce proceedings or after the divorce has been concluded.
The split of assets is determined on the basis of your contribution to acquiring and maintaining joint property. If you don’t work (for example, you have stayed at home to look after the house and children) then this will be considered when determining your contribution.
When you divorce in Romania, your ‘matrimonial property’ ends on the date when the application for divorce is filed.
You are also entitled to maintenance if you are in financial need due to an incapacity to work that arose before or during the marriage, or within a year of the divorce if this incapacity was as a result of events relating to the divorce.
If the divorce finds that only one of you is at fault, this spouse is only entitled to maintenance for a year after divorce. The other party can be awarded maintenance for an indefinite period.
This maintenance will typically be set at one-quarter of the net income of the spouse liable for payment (depending on financial circumstances and the needs of the other spouse). Added to child support, this payment cannot exceed half of the divorced party’s net income.
Any maintenance will end if you remarry.
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