According to the Family Act of the Republic of Serbia, the marriage is terminated by the following
- Termination of marriage:
- Death of a spouse
In this text, we will deal with the topic of uncontested divorce, as one of the ways for terminating a marriage. We will look upon the legal proceedings of the divorce in order to compare these two different aspects of the dissolution of marriage.
How does one terminate a marriage in Serbia?
Marriage is always legally terminated in court by initiation of the spouses. That is why we differentiate
two situations, that is, two initial ways of commencing the legal proceedings.
- Motion for uncontested divorce filed by both spouses
- Divorce petition filed by one of the spouses
No matter the cause for dissolution, the marriage is terminated only when the verdict becomes final.
Verdict becomes final when the waiting period is over or the filed complaint is processed and finalized.
However, if both spouses don’t file a complaint, the verdict becomes final on the day of its
announcement, i.e. The marriage is terminated right after the announced verdict.
What should a motion for uncontested divorce contain?
The content of the motion depends on the spouses’ arrangements. Family Act stipulates elements that
must be included in every motion, depending on whether spouses have children or joint assets. If the
spouses have joint assets, the motion must contain a written agreement on equitable distribution. If they have children who need parental care, the motion must contain a written agreement on exercising parental rights.
Marital assets in uncontested divorce
The estates of the spouses can be joint or individual. Making the difference here is of high importance since joint assets must be split between the spouses, but individual assets remain outside the legal scope of divorce. It means that all private assets remain entirely in the spouse’s possession after the divorce.
Individual assets include all assets that a spouse attained before entering the marital union, as well as the inherited assets, gifts, or presents. So, these possessions are divided between spouses.
Family Act emphasizes that the uncontested divorce must contain a written agreement on equitable distribution. It implies that all joint assets must be consensually divided.
One must bear in mind that the Family Act stipulates that this agreement on equitable distribution must be concluded under notary supervision. However, on the joint meeting of the Civil department and Labor Department of Appellate Courts, it has been decided that spouses need only to sign an equitable distribution agreement if they are terminating marriage consensually.
If the assets are divided consensually, spouses do not need to certify their agreement at a notary, since they only file a motion for uncontested divorce and courts decide on the verdict.
Agreement on child custody
As already mentioned, the motion for uncontested divorce must contain a written agreement on exercising parental rights. Spouses can agree if they want to exercise their rights jointly or consensually, in which case only the mother or father can exercise parental rights. That is why there are differences between:
–Agreement on joint legal custody
–Agreement on sole custody
Agreement on joint legal custody
In this agreement, parents declare consensually that they will exercise their parental rights and duties jointly in the best interest of the child. So, if the court assesses that the agreement is not in the best interest of the child, it will decide differently, that is, according to the best interest.
The key part of the agreement on joint legal custody is the address and the place where the child resides.
Agreement on sole custody
If the parents decide that only one of them will exercise parental rights, the agreement entails:
-Agreement on sole physical custody
-Agreement on the amount of allowance (alimony) for raising the child. It is the amount that the parent who is not exercising parental rights must pay to the other parent so that it could cover food, clothing, school, and other expenses related to raising the child.
-Agreement on maintaining relations with the other parent. This refers to the dynamic of visitation rights, for example seeing the child every other weekend, or each weekend, every Wednesday, and so on. Here it is also stated who spends with child holidays, birthdays and other celebrations.
Clearly, it is also a priority to meet the best interest of the child. If it is not the case, the court will not accept the agreement.
Does one need a lawyer for an uncontested divorce?
In these proceedings, the lawyer is formally not necessary, but in general, it is. The spouses are allowed to handle the matter alone, but it involves writing and filing motions and petitions, including all important elements so that the court could assess them. It is necessary to write up an agreement on equitable distribution, exercising parental rights, alimony, and similar. Spouses must come to trials,finish all legal and civil matters in order to terminate a marriage. People who are not lawyers or
introduced to law, can with inadequate work end up in long-term trials.
Of course, we recommend hiring an experienced lawyer who could offer the best legal advice before trial and during the trial, someone who can efficiently make an agreement on uncontested divorce with all necessary elements while respecting the wishes of the client.
In the case of uncontested divorce, one lawyer cannot represent both spouses. The options are: both spouses are represented by different lawyers, one lawyer is representing only one spouse, or neither one of the spouses is represented.
The spouses are formally two opposed sides, especially when dealing with divided custody and assets which is why representing both sides would be a conflict of interest.
How much does a divorce cost?
In the case of divorce, two fees of 2.660,00 RSD must be paid – one before the trial and one after the final verdict.
There is also a court fee for an uncontested divorce motion which costs 1.950,00 RSD. Since the spouses are filing for the divorce mutually they split the fee. However, the spouses can agree differently so that one of them pays the entire fee.
If the spouses have joint real estate, e.g. house or apartment, additionally they need to provide proof of ownership from the land register. It is also needed to attach a marriage certificate and birth certificate of the child. Besides lawyer and court fees, one must consider additional expenses from providing these certificates and proofs.
Lawyer’s fees are usually not that high for uncontested divorce cases, comparing to the divorce trials, because these proceedings are short in length and end usually after one-two hearings.