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B. Divorce Process in Sweden
In some cases, for example if only one of the spouses want the marriage to be dissolved, or if spouses have a child under the age of 16, the divorce needs to be preceded by a period for consideration for 6 months.
Other grounds for divorce are if it was a forced marriage, if one of the spouses is under the age of 18, if the spouses are closely related or if one of the spouses is already married to or in a registered partnership with someone else.
C. Jurisdiction Requirements in Sweden
The Swedish courts have jurisdiction if: –
- Both spouses live in Sweden;
- Sweden is the last place the spouses lived together and if one of the spouse still lives there;
- One of the spouse lives there and they hand in a joint application;
- The non-applicant spouse lives there;
- The applicant spouse lives there and has lived there for at least a year immediately before the application was made;
- The applicant spouse lives there and has lived there for at least six months immediately before the application was made and is a Swedish citizen; or
- Both spouses are Swedish citizens.
D. Child Issues in Sweden
When assessing what is the best interests for the child, special attention should be paid to the risk of the child or anyone in the family being abused or the child being illegally abducted or detained or otherwise harmed and the child’s need for close and good contact with both parents.
The child’s age and maturity will also be taken into account by the Court. The Court may also consider the child’s will.
If the parents are unable to communicate regarding the child and are unable to exercise the custody jointly, that could be a ground for entrusting sole custody to one parent.
The parents shall between themselves bear the costs according to their ability. If the child resides with one of the parents, the other parent shall fulfil his/her maintenance obligation by paying maintenance allowance to the child.
E. Division of Matrimonial Assets in Sweden
- Assets that have been made a private property through a prenuptial agreement, conditional gift or conditional inheritance;
- Other matters solely for personal use;
- Non-transferable personal rights; and
- Pension rights.
The remaining of the spouses’ marital assets will then be added together. The value thereof must then be shared equally between the spouses.
With regard to special reasons for example if it was a short marriage or if a spouse is bankrupt or if a spouse passes away, the distribution can be made in another way – for example each spouse to keep their respective marital assets.
F. Spousal Maintenance in Sweden
If a spouse’s contribution does not suffice for his/her personal needs or for the payments that he/she otherwise takes care of for the family’s maintenance, the other spouse should contribute the money needed.
If a spouse neglects his/her maintenance obligation or if the spouses are not living together, the court may order the spouse neglecting his/her maintenance obligation to pay a sum of maintenance allowance to the other spouse.
After a divorce, the main rule is that each spouse is responsible for their own maintenance. If a spouse needs support for his or her maintenance during a transitional period, he/she has the right to receive maintenance support from the other spouse as is reasonable in view of the ability of the payee spouse and the circumstances of the payer spouse.
If a spouse has difficulties sustaining him/herself after a long-term marriage has been dissolved or there are other special reasons, he/she is entitled to maintenance allowance by the other spouse for a longer period.
As the main rule is that each spouse is responsible for their own maintenance, one should not expect the spousal maintenance to be much more than subsistence level except in special cases.
The person who is entitled to maintenance through a court order (or a valid agreement signed by both spouses) may submit an application for enforcement to this authority who will assist by driving in the debt, or in worst case by way of a seizure order.
For further detailed information on international divorce, please visit our dedicated web-page at www.expatdivorce.sg