What happens in a divorce?
A divorce application is filed at a district court by one of the spouses alone or by both together. After the divorce application has been filed, a period of consideration begins. You can get guidance and help from family mediation and the child supervisor.
A divorce application can be filed by both spouses together or by one of the spouses alone. Divorce is filed at the district court of the home municipality of one of the spouses. There is no need to state the reason for divorce.
Download the divorce application document on oikeus.fi web service (in Finnish). The signed application can be taken or posted to the district court, or it can be submitted via Suomi.fi Messages.
A fee is charged for processing the application. If only one of the spouses files for divorce, the court will inform the other party of it.
A six-month period of consideration begins when the divorce application has been submitted. When the period ends, the spouses or one of them must file for divorce within six months. If a divorce is not filed, the matter will expire. If the spouses have lived separately without interruption for at least the two previous years, the divorce can be granted without a period of consideration.
Couples who have children and are considering a divorce or have already initiated the process receive help free of charge from family mediation, which is provided by municipalities and organisations. Mediation is available regardless of whether the couple decides to divorce or to stay married.
Specialist help in disputes related to the care of the children and visitation rights is available also from the district court.
Parents who are divorcing will agree on the custody and maintenance of their children between themselves. The opinion of their children should be taken into account when possible. Divorced parents can continue to be responsible for their children together. The children can either live with one parent or alternate between the parents’ homes. Please note that in cases where children alternate between two homes, one parent could be required to pay child maintenance.
Also remember that if you intend to move to a different location, you must usually notify the other parent of your plan to move. However, this notification is not completely necessary, if the move does not affect the children's custody or the realisation of visitation rights. The parent need not notify the other parent at all, if that could be a threat to your child’s or your life, health or freedom.
The municipal child welfare officer can help with any negotiations related to children as well as with the agreements entered into during these negotiations and their validation. If a child’s parents cannot reach a common understanding, the matter will be resolved by the district court.
In a divorce, the property of the spouses is divided, which means that the assets are put together and split equally between the spouses. If the spouses have a prenuptial agreement, the agreement is followed.
If the spouses cannot reach an agreement on how the property is divided by the time the divorce enters into force, it is also possible to request the appointment of an estate distributor to divide the spouses’ property, i.e. to carry out the so-called distribution of matrimonial assets, in connection with the divorce. You can request the appointment of an estate distributor in connection with your divorce application or later.