Legal aid at the end of a cohabitation relationship or in a divorce
- in some cases, the property is also separated at the end of a cohabitation relationship
- you can seek help from the child supervisor, the public legal aid office, the district court and law firms for reaching an agreement on matters.
The divorcing married or cohabiting couple may need legal aid in matters related to the care and maintenance of the children and the division of the property.
If you cannot reach an agreement on how your joint property is divided or you disagree, for example, on the application of your prenuptial agreement, contact the public legal aid office or a private attorney. You can also request the district court to appoint an estate distributor. An estate distributor is a jurist who will examine the property to be divided and makes a proposal on how it should be divided.
The process is called distribution of matrimonial assets in a divorce and separation of the property at the end of a cohabitation relationship.
The services of the estate distributor are chargeable.
The main rule is that cohabiting partners have no right to each other’s assets.
However, if you have cohabited for at least five years or if you and your partner have a child together or have joint custody of a child, your separation is governed by the Act on the Dissolution of the Household of Cohabiting Partners. Under the act, your property must be separated.
If you are not able to come to an agreement, you can request the district court to appoint an estate distributor. You may be entitled to compensation according to how you have participated in financing your joint household or helped your partner to accumulate his or her wealth.
A fee is charged for processing the matter in court. If you need a lawyer’s help, you will be responsible for paying the lawyer’s fee yourself. You can choose your lawyer freely. Before you sign a contract, it is recommended that you compare the fees and invoice basis of legal firms.
If you have a low income, you may receive legal aid from the legal aid office free of charge.
You can agree with your spouse on how your property is divided, on the care and maintenance of your children and all other shared matters the way you want. Both of you have to be satisfied with the decision. A decision concerning a child must be in the best interests of the child.
If you cannot reach an agreement, you can seek outside help. The municipal child welfare officer will help you reach an agreement in many matters related to your children. You can contact the child welfare officer in matters related to custody, living arrangements, visitation rights and maintenance of the child. The child welfare officer will also validate any agreements you enter into.
The district court may provide mediation for disputes related to children and property. The district court will also resolve any dispute that you cannot agree on without a legal process. You can contact a Public Legal Aid Office or buy services from legal firms to assist you with the negotiations when you try to reach an agreement without a court process.
Try to reach an agreement on matters related to the children by negotiating with the other parent.
If necessary, the child supervisor in your home municipality will provide help and guidance. The child supervisor will help the parents to reach an agreement in matters related to the care of the children, housing, visitation rights and maintenance and confirm these agreements. The child supervisor can be contacted in both undisputed and disputed cases.
If an agreement cannot be reached between the parents, you can request mediation from the district court alone or with the other parent. The purpose of mediation is to reach a lasting agreement between the parents. Mediation may be an informal session assisted by a specialist, in which a psychologist and a social worker participate and which is aimed at reaching an agreement.
If it is impossible to reach an agreement, the dispute will be resolved by the district court. The child’s opinion is also asked in a matter that concerns the child. A party not satisfied with the decision made by the district court may appeal to the court of appeal.