Divorce in Hungary

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How long does it take to divorce in Hungary?

If the registration of the marriage is necessary, that requires usually 2-3 months.

The length of the court procedure is up to the parties and whether there is a common child, or not.

If there is no common child, and there is an agreement between the parties, the court holds a hearing in 2-3 months after filing the claim to them. If both of the parties accept the decision right at the announcement, it becomes final, and the procedure is finished.


We have a child. Does it make the procedure longer?

If there is a common child, it is not possible to finish the procedure in one hearing.


We cannot come into Hungary to divorce. Does it make the procedure longer?

The registration of the marriage can be made from abroad.

The party starting the divorce has to be present at least the first court hearing to be heard personally by the judge.

When the defendant is not present in the court procedure, the court has to hear witnesses to have confirmed that the marriage has been broken down irretrievably. This takes more time, because the time left between two court hearings is usually 2-3 months, depending on the court.

This way the procedure can be lengthened even up to 18 months, so it is highly advised to come into Hungary and cooperate with each other, so that the procedure will be much faster.


Why do I have to register my marriage in Hungary? I want to divorce, not to get married.

If either of you is a Hungarian citizen, the Hungarian court can only dissolve the marriage after the marriage certificate is issued by Hungarian authorities. If you haven’t registered the marriage, you do not have this certificate, so you need to register it at first. Right after that the divorce procedure can be started.


How much does the procedure cost?

There is no duty at the registration of the marriage, however, the official translation and an apostille is needed for the original marriage certificate. The official translation fees in Hungary are very high. A translation for marriage certificate costs around 60-70 EUR. Apostille 17-20 EUR depending on the country. A signature authorization is also needed for the declaration that costs also 17-20 EUR per signature depending on the country.

The court duty is basically 100 EUR if it is only about divorce, and no child placement, assets, or other issues shall be decided because of argument. Adding other issues increase the court duty with 70 EUR.

If you wish to have an attorney at law to represent you and draft the necessary documents, that is hard to predict. The best way to know it is to ask an offer.


What documents do I need?

If you need registration, the following documents are needed:

  • Original marriage certificate provided with apostille
  • Birth certificate copies from both parties
  • Passport copies from both parties

For the divorce the following documents are needed:

  • Original marriage certificate issued by Hungarian authorities
  • Evidences, if not agreeing in the 5 important questions

There may be other documents that are necessary:

  • Declarations
  • Agreement
  • Power of Attorney

But these are better to leave to the legal representative to draft.


Do I have to travel to Hungary personally?

It is the best to appear at the court personally for both parties. If both parties are present, and they declare together that there is no disputet between them in the five essential questions, the judge makes his decision on that hearing. If both parties are present, they can also waive the right of appeal. This way the divorce decree becomes final right after the hearing.

If one of the parties cannot be present because of a reason beyond their control (serious illness, not having visa, etc.), the judge forgives the absence. However, this way there is the possibility for not closing the case in one hearing, and even if there is a decision, both parties must wait until the decision is posted, and 15 days elapse without any event after receiving it, in order to be final.

If there is not a serious reason for absence, different rules apply for the parties. If the person, who has started the case is absent, the judge will close the case without decision. The only possibility for continuing the case is the counterclaim of the other party.

If the other party (the defendant) is absent, it doesn’t cause much problem, but the procedure will be longer because of judging the evidences.


I don’t speak Hungarian. Do I have to search an interpreter?

According to Hungarian law, everybody has the right to use their native language, or any language that they understand and speak, in a court procedure. If the court is informed about that either of the parties need an interpreter, they will provide one for free.

If requested, the court will also translate the decision and other official documents into that person’s language for free.


If we agree in the divorce procedure, and it can be finished with one hearing, why do you mention “first hearing”?

Even if having an agreement, and both parties decide to go to the court together, unexpected circumstances can occur anytime. For example: one of the parties changes his or her mind, or the plane is cancelled, and is unable to arrive to the hearing, etc.

This way the court may be unable to close the case in one hearing (even if that was the aim), so there will be further hearings. This is unpredictable, but one thing is sure: one hearing will be surely held. That hearing is called the “first hearing” even if further hearings are not planned.


Why am I called defendant? I didn’t do anything wrong.

In the Hungarian divorce procedure there are two parties: the plaintiff and the defendant. These are just legal words for marking the parties. The plaintiff is the person who starts the procedure, and the defendant is the person on the other side, from who the plaintiff wishes to divorce. These roles have nothing to do with the personalities and deeds of the parties.


I don’t know where my wife / husband lives. Is it possible to divorce?

Knowing the address of the other party is essential for starting any procedure (either registration, or divorce). Without knowing the exact address, the governmental office may refuse the marriage registration.

If no registration is needed for divorce, choosing the appropriate court is based on either the defendant’s address, or the last common residence. If the common residence was not in Hungary, the divorce procedure can be started in Budapest, and the court may order the central register to provide information about the address. This takes time, and may also be sometimes unsuccessful because of the lack of registered Hungarian address. This way the court orders a legal representative for the missing party (that has to be paid by the person starting the procedure), and the divorce can be finished after a very long procedure.

In short, legally it is not prohibited to divorce without knowing the address of the other party, but may cause (and usually it is so) administrative problems, thus much longer procedure.


I’m not a Hungarian citizen. Can I start a divorce procedure in Hungary?

If the marriage has any connections with Hungary of the followings, the divorce can be started in Hungary:

  • Both of you lived in Hungary, and one of you still lives there
  • Only your partner lives in Hungary
  • You wish to start the divorce together and at least one of you lives in Hungary
  • You have been living in Hungary for at least 1 year
  • You have been living in Hungary for at least 6 months, and you are a Hungarian citizen
  • Both of you are Hungarian citizens

If none of the above mentioned is true in your case, Hungarian authorities have no jurisdiction, and you have to divorce in another country that has stronger connections with your marriage.


My wife / husband doesn’t want to divorce. Can I divorce even without her / him?

Based on Hungarian law, the approval or appearance of the other party is not required for divorce. However, this may cause much longer procedure, and the person who starts the procedure has to prepare strong evidences that convince the judge about that the marriage is irreversibly broken.


I have a child, but not from my husband. How should we agree in divorce?

If the child was born before your marriage, you don’t have to agree about such child, so that doesn’t cause any problem.

However, if the child was born during the marriage, the child is considered to be common, even if it is biologically not common. You can agree as if the child was your common child, and decide about visitation, and maintenance, etc. However, we would like to warn you, that this way the husband may have obligations in relation of a child that is not his own, and the real father may lose his rights (for example visitation, etc.). Deciding about such child may cause difficulties and unfair conditions, so it is not advised in most cases.

These cases should be solved by a so called “challenging the presumption of paternity” procedure. This is another court procedure, that officially declares that the biological father is also the legal father. After such decision there is no need to agree about the child in the divorce procedure, because there is no legally common child anymore.


Can I get spousal support after divorce?

Hungarian law acknowledges spousal support. However, we have to mention that not everybody is entitled to receive it based on law. The person following conditions are required:

  • unable to live a life alone for reasons not caused by himself or herself (typically: serious illness, being unable to work, or being on a child care leave are accepted as reasons)
  • not being responsible for the breakdown of the marriage
  • the other party can afford the support.

If the above listed conditions are not true in your case, law does not provide you spousal support. However, the parties can agree different. When making an agreement of spousal support, please keep in mind that being arrogant, and demanding much may lead to no spousal support at all, so it is advised not to argue much about this question.


Do we have to live in separate locations in order to get divorced?

It is not a requirement, but if your partner is not cooperative, it is easier to prove the breakdown of the marriage, if you live separated.

If agreeing about the use of common residence, the agreement may also come to a conclusion that both of you will live at the same place.


After divorce when will I get the official papers?

When the judge announces the decision about the divorce, and none of the parties wish to appeal against it, the decision becomes final from that time. However, the decision that time is only handwritten, and the court needs some days to draft it in an official form (usually takes a week). After drafting, the posting requires also around a week, so usually after the divorce is final, the official divorce decree on paper can be handed over after 2-3 weeks depending on the court.

However, if EU certification and translation is needed, that takes around 3-4 additional weeks. Furthermore, if you live abroad, the delivery will also be slower, so the worst case may mean that you can receive the official translated version of the divorce decree abroad approximately in 2 months.

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