It is customary for the spouses to carry out some wedding follow-up purchases: to buy an apartment, furnish it according to their aesthetics and desires, buy a car or maybe even raise a loan if the spouses believe are unable to carry out financial goals without it.
In the case of a divorce, spouses will share everything they acquired through marriage and that procedure can be complicated and unpleasant on its own, accompanied by the demands and attitudes of both spouses on what belongs to whom and who contributed to what degree to the marital community and its property. Divorce with a foreign citizen is another issue. It raises the question of the jurisdiction of the court for assets that are not located on its territory, as well as for the joint property of spouses where only one of the spouses is Serbian citizen, as well as the question of the law to be applied in such a case.
The sharing of common property acquired in marriage can be carried out in two ways, either through:
- Judicial division of property
If the agreement on sharing common property has not been reached, the matter the civil court decides on this matter in a special lawsuit on the division of property acquired through marriage, which is most likely to be initiated after the divorce.
In this procedure, the Serbian court will establish international jurisdiction if the defendant is resident in Serbia. The Serbian court will also be competent in the place of permanent or temporary residence of the petitioner in Serbia, but only on condition that the property that is the subject to dispute is also located in the territory of Serbia.
For the property abroad, the Serbian court may be competent only with the consent of the defendant as follows:
- If the majority of the property is located in the country;
- If the property abroad is being decided on in the same dispute as for the one which is in charge of dividing the property in the country.
The Serbian court will also be competent in the matter of real estate located on the Serbian territory. It is not necessary for either party to have a place of residence in the Serbian territory.
In property disputes, it is possible for the spouses to agree on the jurisdiction of our court but provided that at least one of the spouses is a Serbian citizen. Spouses may also agree on the jurisdiction of a foreign court, but it is necessary for at least one spouse to be a foreign citizen and that the property in the matter is on the Serbian territory.
The Law of which country will apply in this case?
- The right of the country in which the spouses have their permanent residence
- If spouses no longer hold permanent residence in the same country, the law of the last joint residence of spouses shall apply
- If spouses did not share common permanent residence at all, the law of the Republic of Serbia shall apply
This blog post rounded up the matter of divorce with a foreign citizen and provided answers to most frequently asked questions from our clients in practice. Although divorce with a foreign element almost always leads to a fairly complicated procedure, we conclude it does not always have to be the case, especially if our court is competent for divorce, and the foreign law that applies in divorce proceedings does not differ substantially from the Serbian law.