More and more people have started to contact our law firm wanting to know whether Ukrainian citizens can get a divorce in Poland. We have therefore prepared a summary of the most important information on this issue.
Poland and Ukraine are linked by a bilateral agreement on legal assistance and legal relations in civil and criminal matters (i.e. the Agreement between the Republic of Poland and Ukraine on Legal Assistance and Legal Relations in Civil and Criminal Matters drawn up in Kiev on 24 May 1993).
Two situations can be distinguished under this agreement:
a) both spouses are citizens of Ukraine,
b) one of the spouses is a Polish citizen and the other is a Ukrainian citizen.
In a situation where a divorce is to take place between Ukrainian nationals, the competent court will be a Ukrainian court, even if both spouses reside in Poland. In such a case, the spouses will not be able to divorce in Poland.
In the second situation described above, the spouses will be able to file for divorce before a Polish court if:
– one of the spouses is a Polish citizen, and
– where the spouses, or one of them, resides in Poland.
In the case where one of the spouses resides in Poland and the other in Ukraine, the spouses may decide on their own which of the aforementioned countries the petition for divorce will be filed in. In this case, however, it is important to bear in mind the principle of priority – if one of the spouses first files for divorce in Poland, the divorce case will proceed before a Polish court and under Polish law, but if one of the spouses first files for divorce in Ukraine, the divorce case will proceed before a Ukrainian court and under Ukrainian law.
In summary, it is possible for a Ukrainian citizen to get a divorce in Poland if one of the spouses is a Polish citizen and at least one of the spouses resides in the territory of Poland.