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Divorce

If you or your spouse has a municipality of residence in Finland, you can file for a divorce in accordance with Finnish legislation. You can also file for a divorce according to Finnish legislation in some other cases. Divorce is enacted in the Marriage Act.

Filing for divorce

Either spouse alone or both spouses together can file for a divorce. You can file for a divorce alone, even if your spouse does not wish to separate from you.

Divorce application is filed at a District Court. The court will not investigate why you have filed for a divorce. The relationship between the spouses will not be examined either.

Divorce must be applied for by written application. You can submit an application for divorce at the District Court office of your own or your spouse’s municipality. Applications can also be sent to the District Court office by post or e-mail or as a telegram. Divorce application forms are available on the Suomi.fi website.

Divorce is applied for in two phases. First you need to file an application for divorce. After the reconsideration period is over, you must file for a divorce again. You will be granted a divorce only after the second application. The divorce will be granted even if your spouse opposes it.

More information on filing for a divorce is available on the Ministry of Justice website.

linkkiFinlex:
Marriage ActFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiOikeus.fi:
Divorce application(pdf, 100 kb)Finnish | Swedish

linkkiJudicial System:
Filing for a divorceFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiAssociation of Single Parent Families:
Divorce in FinlandEnglish | Estonian

Reconsideration period

When the first divorce application has been filed, a six-month long reconsideration period begins. The reconsideration period is mandatory if you and your spouse have not lived in separate households for at least two years.

If you and your spouse are filing for divorce together, the reconsideration period begins as soon as your application is filed at a District Court.

If one of the spouses is filing for divorce alone, the reconsideration period begins once the other spouse has been notified of the divorce application. The District Court will make sure that the other spouse is notified of the application.

After the reconsideration period

The District Court will grant the spouses a divorce when:

  • the six-month reconsideration period has passed and
  • one or both of the spouses asks to be granted a divorce.

The application asking that the court grants spouses a divorce after the reconsideration period is over is filed in the same way as the first application.

It is important that you file the application to be granted a divorce within one year after the reconsideration period began. If not, your divorce process will lapse.

Divorce without a reconsideration period

If you and your spouse have lived in different households without interruption for at least two years before filing for divorce, you will not need a reconsideration period. In this case, the court can grant you a divorce immediately.

Family mediation

If you are contemplating divorce and need help with negotiating various arrangements, you can apply for family mediation (perheasioiden sovittelu). Family mediation can often help you settle things without resorting to court proceedings. Arrangements related to your children, for example, can be discussed in family mediation.

The mediators are usually employees of social services, educational counselling centres or family counselling centres. You can discuss all matters with them confidentially.

Ask at the local social services office how family mediation is organised in your municipality.

More information on family mediation is available on the Ministry of Justice website.

Support during divorce

If you are having problems in your relationship, you can seek help for example at the family counselling centre of your municipality or your health centre. More information is available on the Infopankki web page Marriage and relationship problems.

More information on what to do if you are in a violent relationship is available on the Infopankki web page Violence.

Many organisations and parishes organise support group activities for divorced people. More information is available for example on the websites of the Family Federation or the Family Counselling Centre of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.

The website of Yhden Vanhemman Perheiden Liitto ry (association for single parent families) contains information and advice for parents who are thinking about separating.

The Miessakit Association (Miessakit ry) aims to promote welfare among men and provide social activities and support. The association has operations in Helsinki, Tampere and Lahti. Additional information is available on the association’s website in Finnish, English and Swedish.

linkkiThe Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland:
Information on family counselling provided by the churchFinnish | Swedish

linkkiFamily Federation:
Support in a divorceFinnish

linkkiMiessakit ry:
Support for menFinnish | Swedish | English

linkkiAssociation of Single Parent Families:
Support in a divorceFinnish

linkkiDuo for Intercultural Families:
Guide to Intercultural Divorce in FinlandEnglish

Divorce and residence permit

If you have a fixed-term residence permit that has been granted based on family ties, divorce may affect your residence permit. In these situations, it is always considered case-by-case whether the residence permit is continued after the divorce or if it is cancelled. More information is available on the Infopankki web page Residence permit problems.

Property in divorce

Information on how to divide your property if your marriage ends in divorce is available on the Infopankki web page Property in divorce.

Children in a divorce

More information on children in a divorce is available on the Infopankki web page Children in a divorce.