Balkan divorce: how marriages end in Serbia

Divorce|June 16th 2015

Serbia is a modern country with modern attitudes but some patriarchal and traditional attitudes to marriage linger on. As you would expect, it is fully regulated by law but of course some couples choose not to marry and simply live together in a cohabiting relationship. Serbian law does not permit marriage between persons of the same sex.

Marriage grants each partner in the relationship equal rights. Civil marriages are formed by the free consent of each party, as given to the relevant state authorities. Marriages and cohabiting relationships are legally equal under the Family Law Act, but some differences are defined by other legislation, for example inheritance rights. Under the current law, cohabitants do not automatically inherit from their partners if the latter die. In the near future, however, we expect the adoption of a new civil code which should resolve these and other differences.

In Serbia, couples can also opt for a church or religious marriage, conducted according to the rules of the religious community in question. Patriarchal traditions and religious education are both still influence the behavior of some Serbians. But unlike civil marriages religious marriages are not legally binding. If a man and a woman who have undergone a church marriage then begin to live together their relationship would be regarded in law as the equivalent of cohabitation.

Marriage customs vary amongst different social groups, and some older traditions still persist in rural areas – for example ‘buying a bride’. In this custom, the groom’s brother ‘buys’ the bride from her family, usually from her brother. Of course this is just a bit of pageantry, not to be taken literally, and it is often done in a very entertaining way.

When a woman enters into a marriage she has the right to keep her surname or take her husband’s. Some women add the husband’s surname to their own. Husbands also have the right to change their surname if they wish but in practice this rarely happens. If the spouses have children, they must all have the same surname. In other words, one child cannot have the mother’s surname and another the father’s surname.

A marriage can be dissolved by the courts in two ways: by mutual agreement of the spouses or by the filing of a lawsuit for divorce. In these court proceedings the public is excluded in order to protect the privacy of the family.

Divorce is very liberal in Serbia. Reasons for divorce, according to the Family Law Act, can include a seriously and permanently disturbed marital relationship and the spouses no longer being able to live together for some solid reason – for example, if a spouse has gone missing. In practice, however, a divorce is usually achieved through one of the spouses simply leaving the relationship and declaring that they no longer want to be married.

Cohabitation, by contrast, simply ends when one partner leaves. If cohabitants have joint children and if they cannot reach an agreement on arrangements they have to file an application with the courts which will then decide on the matter.

Divorce proceedings can be initiated by mutual agreement between the spouses. This proposal must include arrangements as to where any children will live, whether with one both or both parents. They must state which parent will make decisions about the child’s education, who will administer the child’s property, and arrangements regarding contact between the child and the non-resident parent. There must also be an agreement on the payment of any maintenance and on the division of assets or property earned together during the marriage. The role of resident parent includes keeping, raising, educating, representing and supporting the child, as well as looking after their property.

Divorce proceedings initiated by lawsuit are more complicated than those initiated by mutual agreement. A mandatory part of the court process is mediation, unless one spouse does not agree to this or if they are incapable of participating in the process. Alternatively the issue might be that they live abroad or simply that their whereabouts are unknown.

Mediation consists of two parts: conciliation and settlement. The court is obliged to try conciliation and if that fails court they will start the settlement procedure. Conciliation is focused on any possibility that the spouses might reconcile, whereas the point of settlement is peaceful resolution of disputed issues related to arrangements for the child, maintenance and contact.

The courts are obliged by law to conduct conciliation procedure within two months of the beginning of divorce proceedings. During this procedure the court can decide to refer spouses, if they agree, to appropriate organisations, such as the guardianship authority, marital and family counseling, or other specialized institutions for family mediation.

During the conciliation, solicitors for each of the spouses need not be present, but they can represent them in the process of settlement and the rest of the divorce proceedings. In practice, the court usually refers spouses to the guardianship authority for conduct of the conciliation procedure. If the conciliation stage fails, then the guardianship authority will then conduct the settlement procedure. After finishing this, the guardianship authority is then required to report the results to the court.

If the spouses have not reconciled or reached a settlement, the guardianship authority submits their own findings and expert opinion, including suggestions on arrangements for the child, the payment of maintenance (which cannot be lower than 15 per cent nor higher than 45 per cent of the income of the spouses). The authority will also consider issues surrounding contact for the non-resident parent, guided by the principle of “the best interests of the child”. Although the opinion of the guardianship authority is not legally binding on the court, in practice, the courts respect its conclusions and rarely deviate from them.

A child who has reached the age of ten may freely and directly express his or her opinions in any judicial and administrative proceedings concerning their rights. A child who has reached the age of 15 years and who is capable of reasoning may also make their own decisions regarding which parent they wish to live with.

Despite the technical equality of both parents, in practice children usually end up living with their mother. After divorce, children are, sadly, often used as emotional weapons against the other parent, by people unconcerned with the best interests of their children.

Common problems post-divorce include failure to pay child maintenance regularly and one partner interfering with the other’s right to see the child or children.

So there you have it. Serbian divorce law is very liberal.

Photo of Serbian capital Belgrade by Annexator via Wikipedia

Author: Marija Jovanovic

Marija writes papers on family law issues and is involved in the legal protection of children and the elderly for the Belgrade Guardianship Authority. She is a member of the Lawyers Association of Serbia and the Association of Lawyers Belgrade.

Comments(55)

  1. Monica says:

    In Serbia, is there a legal obligation for one spouse to pay support payments/ alimony to the other spouse (no children) when divorced?

  2. State Of Indiana Divorce Papers Free | whuthxt.net says:

    […] Balkan divorce: how marriages end in Serbia by Marija N Jovanovic – Civil marriages are formed by the free … Divorce proceedings can be initiated by mutual agreement between the spouses. This proposal must include arrangements as to where any children will live, whether with one … […]

  3. Marija N. Jovanovic says:

    According to the Family Law Act , there is an obligation for one spouse to pay alimony to the other spouse. The request ( lawsuit) for alimony should be submitted during the judicial proceedings for divorce or not later than 1 year after the divorce. After one year spouse can not ask for alimony. This request may be submitted to the court by a spouse who does not have sufficient means for living, who is unemployed or unable to work. The obligation to pay alimony can last no longer than 5 years after the divorce. The court shall decide on the amount of alimony, taking into account all circumstances of the case (for example, whether the other spouse is employed, the salary, …).

  4. Sergio says:

    When and how does a court decision with reagards to a mutual divorce becomes indefinite and one party cannot longer file for an appeal?
    If the time of appeal passes, does the Court or any other authorities issue a specific certificate, so that to prove that the divorce is definite?

  5. Marija N. Jovanovic says:

    Divorce proceeding is terminated by court decision. Both parties in the court proceeding have the right to appeal. The deadline for an appeal is 15 days after both parties received the court decision. After that, court decision becomes enforceable and divorce is final (the court will put a the seal of finality to the decision).
    Marriage is entered into certain personal documents of both spouses (for example, a birth certificate). It is the same with the divorce. The court does not issue any special certification, except a court decision.

  6. John Nikolaidis says:

    Dear Ms Jovanovic,
    I have recently read your article and prompted me to write.
    I am a Greek and my wife is Serbian, we live on the Sunshine Coast Queensland Australia. Our friend in Serbia is presently going through seperation issues with her estranged husband. They have two young duaghters 4 & 6 years respectively. There is an issue in respect of the amount of maintenance the husband is willing to pay. The husband is an International Athlete who most recently represented the Serbian National team and has over the 10 preceding years together with representation at numerous national competition in Greece, Italy, China to name a few.
    it has come to light that he has now transfered all funds from their respective accounts and has claimed that he is no mney and no longer playing and or has contracts to play overseas albeit deliberately there is much to be contended about his claims and his chosen course of conduct. Due to his present claim he is only willing to participate by way of maintenance in a limited capacity in comparison to what was being provided prior to his decision to seperate approximately 70% reduction. In your article you outline that a minimum of 15% to a maximum of 45% of net earnings can be allocated for maintenance. There are a number of mitigating questions. Does this amount apply to reconciliation absent of the Guardianship Authority making the decision?
    Are there provisions in Serbian Law that require a spouse who claims to be unemployed to make payments after they have secured employment?
    Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Dear Mr. Nikolaidis,

      I apologize for the delay in replication.

      Family Law Act prescribes the minimum and maximum amount of maintenance (15 -45 % of the income of the spouses). A minimum amount of alimony is determined by the amount that is given as compensation for persons in foster care. This amount currently stands at about 100 euros and it’s determined by the ministry responsible for family protection.
      The court will give the final decision on the amount of maintenance. When deciding on the amount of alimony, the court shall consider income, employment opportunities and income-generating, his/hers assets, hi/hers personal needs, obligations to support other persons and other circumstances important for determining alimony. This means that the court may obligate the spouse to pay child support although spouse is unemployed, but for example has a different type of income (money from the rent). Also, court may release a spouse who has no income of maintenance obligations. On the other hand, the court shall obligate that spouse to pay maintenance when he/she starts to earn or otherwise realize income.
      Guardianship authority can give an opinion on the amount of maintenance but as I wrote in article that opinion is not legally binding on the court.

      Best regards,
      Marija

  7. Geoff says:

    I am an Englishman who married a serbian lady in Serbia and wanted to ask if we divorce do I have any rights to a property she bought with her sister in Serbia after we married. My understanding in serbian law is that anything bought after we marry is divided equally. Also if I have right on the share of this property in Serbia is it enforceable from the uk or do I have right as uk citizen to enforce this in Serbia.

    As a side note can I divorce in Serbia where I originally without visiting the country from the uk?

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      In general, property that spouses obtain during marriage is common (joint) property without a certain share. The share in the joint property shall be determined in the special court proceeding and it’s not automatically half of the joint property. Acquisition of property rights to real property (land, houses) depends on the existence of reciprocity between the UK and Serbia. If Serbian citizens are allowed to acquire real estate in the UK, it is possible that UK citizens acquired real estate in Serbia.
      Yes, you can get a divorce without going to Serbia, but you have to authorize an advocate with special power of attorney to initiate divorce proceedings in the basic court.
      These informations are general. For a detailed legal aid I recommend that you get an attorney who will give you specific information and provide legal assistance.

  8. Jovan says:

    Dear Ms Jovanovic

    I’m a UK citizen, born is Serbia. I’ve got married 20 months ago and my wife fell out of love and never came to live with me in the UK. I’m currently in Serbia, I arrived to get divorced and we are finding it very difficult, as I’m a UK citizen and not a Serbian certizen. We went to the court today in Novi Beograd and received very little help or advice, and was simply told we need a lawyer.
    Please help it’s unbelievabley stressful and I have no idea on how to proceed, I can’t afford to keep returning, can I divorce from the UK?

    Please help
    Thank you

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Jovan,
      thank you for contacting me via Linkedin. I hope I’ve answered all your questions.
      Best regards,
      Marija

  9. NB says:

    Dear Ms Jovanovic,

    As someone unfamiliar with Serbian law, I have a question regarding a woman who’s husband wants to divorce her, keep the two kids, and throw her out of their shared apartment. By ‘shared’ I mean the apartment was purchased 50-50, but it is officially the man’s name on all the documents (and virtually no trace of her financial contribution).

    So far, both are refusing to budge – neither is leaving the apartment and instead are existing in a miserable state of stand-off (where the husband is incredibly emotionally-abusive, is brainwashing the children against her and is a drug-addict who disappears with various other women for days). As a result, the woman in question has attempted suicide numerous times due to the abuse (all forms, except physical).

    I hope you might be able to point me in the right direction as to what sort of options this woman might have? Just even some links or any references at all, as I am a close relation and cannot stand by and watch this man literally destroy her. How different is Serbian law (vs UK for example) in cases like this? Does she have a leg to stand on at all in terms of the apartment and custody of the children?

    Thank you in advance.

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Dear NB,
      At the beginning I would pointed out that women has to make the decision what to do and she has to accept the fact that husband wants to divorce. Attempted suicide is not a solution to the problem and definitely it’s not a good sign because the court may bring into question her mental stability while deciding on the custody of children.
      Regarding the apartment, the woman has to have some proof that she gave the money to buy the apartment together with her husband. Her statement is not enough.
      If a woman is a victim of family violence (physically, emotionally or verbally), she should file criminal charges to the police against her husband. There is a legal possibility to file a lawsuit and seek eviction of the abuser (her husband) from the apartment, despite the fact that husband is owner.
      I would recommend the woman to go to the guardianship authority (Center for social work in the municipality where she lives) and to tell them the whole story. Experts in guardianship authority will tell her specifically what to do.
      Sincerely,
      Marija

  10. Lea says:

    Dear Ms. Jovanovic,

    I am not a Serbian citizen however my Serbian husband and I have been married for 5 years. Our marriage took place outside of Serbia, but has been recently registered in Serbia. We have been living in Serbia for almost 3 months.
    – Will we be able to divorce in Serbia, as the marriage didn’t take place here?
    – If we both mutually agree to a divorce, on average how long can it take to secure a divorce?
    – If there is any conflict in the custody of our child (born overseas and not yet a Serbian citizen), will the court give either of us preference?
    Thank you very much for your advice.
    Lea

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Ms. Lea,
      I will answer you in the order.
      1. You can get a divorce in Serbia even though you were married abroad.
      2. Iif you both agree to divorce, you can initiate divorce proceeding by mutual agreement, but this agreement must contain all the elements that I mentioned in this article. The court proceeding can last from 4 months to 12 months, but not necessarily.
      3. By law, both parents are equal but there may be a possibility that court gives preference to the Serbian citizen. In practice, most often, the court gives single custody to a mother of a child younger than 7 years. This is the shortest answer, but not the most accurate and safest. There are lot of questions to be answered in order to made a prognosis.
      Kind regards,
      Marija

  11. Debra A. Franic says:

    Hello – I was wondering how to go about finding out if my husband was already had a wife in Novi Sad Serbia before he married me here in the United States . . Here we have City Hall where birth records death records marriage and divorce documents are kept. But I don’t know where to find that information for Novi Sad Serbia

  12. Marija N. Jovanovic says:

    If your husband were married in Serbia, the information on marriage and divorce are entered in his birth certificate. This certificate is kept in the municipality where your husband was born. You can find the information on your husband’s place of birth in his (Serbian) passport. I assume that your husband had birth certificate when you’re getting married. This certificate is pink color and says “izvod iz maticne knjige rodjenih” (birth sertificate in Serbian language). You can also contact your immigration authorities or municipality of Novi sad (adress: Serbia, 21000 Novi Sad, street: Trg mladenaca 7, phone number: +381 21 6622 767). You can write to the municipality of Novi Sad, but you have to deliver proof that you are married to your husband and to explain why you’re looking for information on whether he was previously married. I must mention that bigamy is a criminal act in Serbia.
    Best regards,
    Marija

  13. Diane says:

    I am a foreigner with permanent residence visa in Serbia, but not yet a citizen. My Serbian husband and I are planning to divorce. In the beginning, we agreed to have a no-contest divorce and just have a mutual agreement on joint custody of our 18-month old daughter. But our relations have deteriorated and he now says he will not allow me to take my daughter for Christmas this year to finally meet my side of the family in my native country. By law, is there any option for my child to travel internationally with me without his consent? For example, can I go to social services or go to court to get an order/certificate that says I can travel out of Serbia with the baby even without the father’s written permission? Or is the solution to apply for sole custody? And what are the factors that the court uses to determine who to award custody to?

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Good evening Diane,
      If your husband does not allow you to take your daughter abroad, then this kind of consent must be given by the court. If you do not have this consent (given by your husband or the court) border police will not allow you to cross the border with a child because there are lots of cases of child abduction.
      In the case where the other parent does not want to give a consent, a possible solution is that you run the procedure for deprivation of parental rights but only in part of giving approval to travel outside the country. This procedure is initiated by filing a lawsuit. Since you are not divorce, you can file a lawsuit for divorce and ask the court to issue a provisional decision (before the end of the divorce proceedings) on approval for the trip.
      Even when one parent has single custody, requires the consent of the other parent to travel abroad with the child. The consent is not required if the court has already given the consent.
      Some of the factors to decide who will get custody are: child’s age, financial status of parents, the relationship of parents with a child, housing conditions, etc.

  14. Ana says:

    I am a Canadian citizen born in Canada. 5 years ago I met a Serbian man wanted to marry in Serbia. I didn’t have the correct documentation for a legal marriage in the country so when I returned the Canada I prepared all the documentation and we were legally married by proxy. Several months later he came to Canada under spousal sponsorship, however after 7 months our relationship dissolved. We never married here in Canada, however were considered legally married in Serbia, I hired a lawyer in Serbia to prepare divorce papers and had them sent to my spouse here in Canada. The papers were received however her refused to sign. I was told by the Serbian lawyer at the time that there is a time frame for my spouse to appeal, and it was a few months. The lawyer indicated that the marriage would be considered dissolve, should by spouse not appeal. I now want to remarry and want to know if
    1 – Is that correct, does a marriage in Serbian dissolve, if it is not appealed?
    2 – Am I provided a divorce degree, or legal paperwork? If so, would the lawyer have this or can it be obtained from the courthouse?

    Another issue of mine is I am having trouble contacting the said lawyer I hired a few years ago to resolve this. It is most important to me to obtain legal documentation that proves divorce is legal.

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Hello Ana,
      If I understand correctly, the process of divorce was in Serbia. If the Serbian court rules on divorce, the deadline for an appeal is 15 days from the date of receipt of the verdict. Your Serbian lawyer had to send you a court decision on divorce. This court decision is proof that you are divorced. Since it is a foreign (Serbian) judicial decision, it is necessary that the Canadian authorities acknowledge this decision (for the procedure of acknowledgments of foreign court decisions you need to ask a Canadian lawyer).
      If your Serbian lawyer can not, for any reason, send you a court decision on divorce, you can contact Serbian court through the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and request that court send you a decision.

  15. SALLY GATT says:

    MY fiancée has Australian divorce to his Croat wife. It was filed and ratified here in Australia two years ago. What does he need to do to prove he is divorced in SERBIA? He is not even sure if his marriage documents were sent to Belgrade as it occurred in 1990 during the start of the tensions between the countries.
    Thank you,
    Sally

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Hi Sally,
      I’m sorry, but I didn’t understand whether your fiancee is divorced in Serbia. In which country his marriage has been concluded and divorced?
      If he is divorced in Serbia he need to contact througt the Australian Ministry of Foreign Affairs the Serbian municipality where he was born and to request his birth certificate (this certificate contained the information on whether the marriage has been divorced), or to ask the serbian court to send him a decision on divorce.
      My unswer depends on place where your fiancee has been married and where he has been divorced.
      Kind regards,
      Marija

  16. Sam says:

    Hi,

    I am British & have asked the Serbian embassy in London for a copy of my marriage certificate as I would like to divorce my Serbian wife who I married in Opstina Kosovska.

    My wife refuses to hand over the original certificate which she states is held with her English solicitor.

    I am unsure of dates so provide a range of dates in 2009/2010.

    The response I received states my marriage is not registered with Serbian authorities in Kosovska Mitrovica.

    What does this mean & what steps should I take next as I want to divorce but I’m currently confused as to if my marriage was legal or where it would be registered with Serbia?

    Thanks Sam

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Hi Sam,
      It is necessary to contact Serbian embassy in London again. Embassy needs to contact the Municipality of Kraljevo and to request copy of your marriage certificate. The registry books for the municipality of Kosovska Mitrovica are in the municipality of Kraljevo (Opstina Kraljevo).
      Best regards,
      Marija

  17. Han Eger says:

    Dear Marija,
    Thank you very much for this post, it’s been very helpful! If you allow me, I’d have a question concerning the ownership of property after divorce. My ex-husband and I have been divorced for about 3 years now (by mutual agreement, both renouncing the right to claim anything from the other). He is an Austrian citizen, I, among others, also hold a Serbian citizenship and filed the divorce in Serbia as well. Before we got married I had bought a property in Serbia and, accordingly, have my maiden name on the contract. Now, after three years of silence, he remarried and claims ownership over it. I’m actually glad to get rid of the place, but quite outraged by his demand after all this time. Are there any specific regulations that he can refer to? Anything in particular that I should know of the conveyance?
    Thank you very much in advance!

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Dear Han,
      First of all, thank you for your comment.
      Unfortunately, I do not have enough information so I could not give you a complete answer. For a start, it is not clear to me whether you bought immovable (for example: land, house, apartment…) or movable property before marriage?
      If I understand the question correctly, you have property purchased before marriage, and your ex-husband sold your property to a third party after the divorce? The property that you acquired before marriage is your separate property. Your ex-husband had no right to sell another person’s property (in this case, your property) without the authorization from the owner (consent to sell). If you did not give a consent to your ex-husband to sell your property, then you can start court proceedings for nullification of this contract of sale.
      Legal norms of the contract of sale are located in the Law on Obligatory Relations (article 454 and onwards), the Law on Real Estate and so on.
      If you give me more details, I will be able to give you more precise answer.
      Kind regards,
      Marija

      • Han says:

        Dear Marija

        Thank you so much for your answer! Sorry, if my description wasn’t clear enough. I’ll try to explain the situation better.

        Before my ex-husband and I got married, I bought a piece of land (unmovable property) in Serbia which is registered on my maiden name and it cannot, in any form, be traced back to him. We divorced by mutual agreement, both renouncing the right to claim anything from the other. Now, three years after our divorce, my ex-husband wants to have the land and have it transferred to his current wife. He hasn’t sold it, but wants me to voluntarily give the land to his current wife and threatening with a juridical procedure if I don’t. I don’t see how he could do sue in this case, but I’d be thankful for a confirmation from an expert.

        Many thanks in advance!

  18. Steve says:

    I am a foreigner married to a Serbian woman. I am in Belgrade to get the divorce. What is the quickest way to do so if we are both mutual about the issue?

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Hello Steve,
      In this article I wrote on mutual agreement. You can submit mutual agreement to the court. This court proceedings does not last long if you do not have children. I recommend that you read the article again.
      In practice, the courts usuallly have the summer break. During July and August the court held only emergency hearings. If you have started court proceedings, the hearing will likely be held earliest in September.
      Greetings and apologies for the late reply,
      Marija

  19. Jim johnson says:

    I am an American married to a Serb. I financially supported my wife and stepdaughter for four years. After only six months living together in the USA my wife decided to move to Italy and file divorce in Serbia. Can I bring suit against her to regain money paid? She has made cruel and wrongful allegations against me. I also caught her flirting with men on social media. How can I make her life hell like she has mine. I have court in two months so I need hurry. I don’t want divorce but she insist on it. Flights, a lawyer and means are not free, so can I make her pay for that as well?

  20. C. Laybourn says:

    Hello, My husband has been paying child support and we just want to know if the mother is liable to pay taxes on this amount she is receiving??

  21. Jenny says:

    I am Jenny from the Philippines, i have a son that have a serbian father. But we never got married.. he left me when i was pregnant with our son. Last year. I just found out that hes married already. I just want to know if i could ask for a child support as i am struggling so much to raise our child alone. He always think that i am using my child to get money out from him. But i only want him to help me. Please help me.

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Dear Jannz,
      According to the Family Law Act, the husband of the child’s mother is to be considered the father of a child born in marriage… But if the child is not born during the marriage of his parents then the man whose paternity has been established by acknowledgment or by a final court judgment is to be considered the father of a child born out-of-wedlock. The question is: is the father of your child registered in the child’s birth certificate as the father or not. If the unswer is negative, then you should to sue the father of the child and when the court establish his paternity, then you can ask for child support in court proceedings. Another marriage does not release the child’s father to pay child support.
      Greetings and apologies for the late reply,
      Marija

  22. Agnes says:

    Dear Marija
    My brother is Canadian citizen (born in Canada), he met a girl in Serbia 6 years ago. They got married in Serbia 4 years ago. She came to Canada under spousal sponsorship in 2014. However their marriage is ended. They want a divorce by mutual agreement . My question is what is the procedure to get divorce in Serbia with power of attorney , whether it is even possible? She is independent not asking for any financial support. They are still friends, just not in love anymore.
    Thank you Marija

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Dear Agnes,
      As I wrote in this article divorce proceedings can be initiated by mutual agreement between the spouses. Your brother has the right to authorize the Serbian lawyer to represent him in this proceeding in Serbia. It is not necessary to be present at the hearing in the court.
      Kind regards,
      Marija

      • Agnes says:

        Dear Marija

        Thank you for your answer. I have another question.. Can my brother and his wife authorize their family member back home for the divorce or needs to be a lawyer? If family can do it can be same person for both? Power of attorney sent from here in English or Serbian ? Thank you so much

        Agnes

        • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

          Dear Agnes,
          Divorce proceedings can be initiated by mutual agreement between the spouses. In this proceedings, spouses can not be represented by the same proxy. The proxy should be an attorney. The authorization must be certified and issued for the purpose of representation in the matrimonial dispute only. The power of attorney in English language must be translated and stamped by a court interpreter for a specific (in this case – Serbian) language.
          Best regards,
          Marija

        • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

          I have to mention that the proxy can be, except an attorney, blood relatives in direct line ( eg.parents), brother or sister. Everything else that I have written for giving power of attorney to a lawyer applies for relatives too.
          Sincerely yours,
          Marija

  23. ilona says:

    Dear Marija,

    I am a Ukrainian lady married to a serbian guy , our marriage lasted for about 15 years , i left him because he always beated me.Now since 3 years i am living in Turkey and i want to divorce,please i need your help, can you help me out with the procedures how to follow ? Can i divorce him without going to Serbia?Many thanks in advance for your answer.
    Best Regards
    ilona

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      Dear Ilona,
      You can get a divorce without coming to Serbia. You need to give a power of attorney for initiating divorce proceedings before the court. For more information I need more details (eg.do you have common child/children, joint property,etc.)
      Best regards,
      Marija

      • ilona says:

        Dear Marija first of all thank you very much for your quick reply!
        We dont have common children,he has 1 doughter and 1 son from the first wife.
        He do have many properties but i guess probably he made all legal documents to his children or parents.Actually i dont have any demands from him,i dont need his money or property,i only want to divorce him.But he doesnt want to divorce me as he said.So i am really stucked and dont know how to proceed further.

        Best Regards
        ilona

        • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

          Dear Ilona,
          According to the serbian law – International Private Law Act, the law applicable to divorce is the law of the country where the spouses had their last joint residence. So my next question would be: where did you and your husband live before you left him? And where did you get married? If you want to continue our comunication, it may be better to write to me on e-mail because of the confidentiality of data.
          Kind regards,
          Marija

  24. Jason says:

    Dear Mrs. Marija N. Jovanovic,

    I have a question regarding a couple in a common law marriage between a foreigner and a Serbian woman.
    They have a baby, and the father do not want to take the baby from the mother, also meaning do not want custody but want to keep his rights on present and future decisions of the child like the mother deciding to travel with baby, put the baby in kindergarten, school..etc and the father want to see the baby(now) on fair terms not on the mother’s mood! But the mother is requesting that the father sign the paper of giving her all rights on the baby and when father refuses because that will mean as if gave up on his baby or do not want the baby, the mother and her family starts preventing the father from seeing the baby in person or through live video call or picture even!
    What is the stance of the father now? What are his obligations toward the baby in a common law marriage and any obligations for him toward the mother? If the father want the mother to take care of the baby since still a baby and needs a mother, despite the father sees her living circumstances are not suitable like mother unemployed and relying on her mother’s! low salary!, can he still keep his other rights about baby future as explained above?
    If mother takes custody now, as the baby grows when can the decision change and on what basis? Like until baby becomes 10 or 15 years or if father later proves the mother unable to raise child in good circumstances.

    Your help is very appreciated.

    Best regards

    Jason

  25. Chelsea says:

    Dear Atty Marija,
    I got my divorce finalized a year ago in Belgrade Serbia through mutual agreement. I got the decisions paper already. My questions is, can I still get/ask another copy of paper that we are divorced from the Marriage registry? Since that before our marriage was registered in that municipality so maybe this time they could give me a Divorce registry?
    Is that possible to obtain divorce registry copy?

    Many thanks and best regards.
    Chelsea

  26. Ира says:

    Dear Maria hello. Help please how to make a divorce. I am a citizen of Belarus and registered a marriage in Serbia to the Banatski Karlovac community on a2012. No children, no joint property. My husband does not divorce, he promised two years ago that he will send papers. We have not talked with him for more than three years. I have a certificate of marriage with an apostille. My husband also has a marriage certificate. How can I get a divorce without going to Serbia? Where do I write in which court address? What documents do I need for the court? How to write a statement correctly and to whom in what city and what address? An attorney is also necessary, is it necessary and where can he find a lawyer? Where can I find it if I live in Belarus? How much does a divorce cost about in Serbia? I do not know where to start and what I do? Do you have to pay the state fee in Serbia? Who pays for the divorce? Help please, I do not know what to do. Thank you. Irina.i

  27. Joanna Gee says:

    May i know how much will it cost to file divorce in Serbia?

    • Marija N. Jovanovic says:

      The court fee for divorce lawsuit is around 160 euros, but the cost of the proceedings is more expensive because it depends on whether you have an attorney, whether you need an expertise etc.
      Kind regards,
      Marija

  28. Alfonso says:

    Dear Maria,

    I am a Peruvian citizen Married to a Serbian citizen in Subotica, we are divorcing but, the court needs some kind of confirmation document from my side but I am not really sure, can you please guide me on what I need to do from abroad in order to get the divorce done?

    Thank you

    • Marija N.Jovanovic says:

      Dear Alfonso,
      Did the court send you a letter or request to provide the certificate? There are a variety of types of documents that a court can ask you for in divorce proceedings. For example: birth certificate, proof of income, address of residence, citizenship certificate and simikar. If you have a court letter you can send me an email: lawyer.marija@gmail.com and I will explain exactly what you need. In the previous comments I wrote about the divorce without coming to Serbia. In short, it is necessary to give the lawyer the full power to represent you before the Serbian court.
      Kind regards,
      Marija

  29. MR says:

    I would like to know if a couple that married in Serbia, would be considered divorced in Serbia, if the couple moved away for 10yrs, and got divorced in another country having a final order or agreement for divorce that is a legal arraignment for custody, support, and visitation. Please inform.

    • Marija N.Jovanovic says:

      MR,
      if you are divorced abroad, you can file a request to the High Court in Serbia in order for the Serbian authorities to register the divorce issue. You do not need to come to Serbia for that, it can be done by a lawyer.
      Best regards,
      Marija

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