Q&A Custody of children and abduction under Czech law

Lawyer answers questions regarding custody of children after parent's divorce

1. We have a child/children and we are considering divorce. What are the necessary steps for the divorce proceeding?

The divorce process in the Czech Republic consists of two different proceedings. First proceeding deals with the children custody and child support, the second proceeding deals with the divorce itself and the common property division. The divorce proceedings cannot be finalized prior the court's ruling on the children custody. Both of the proceedings can be executed by a written agreement between the husband and wife, i.e. the agreement on custody and children visitations, and also the property settlement. If both agreements are concluded, the whole procedure can be finalized within couple of weeks (however, it can take quite a time before the court issues summons for the hearings; it depends on the work load of the courts).

2. How we can solve the custody of our children?

During the divorce proceeding and after the divorce, the parents can either share custody of their children, or the custody can be assigned to of one of the parents, while the other parent has right to visit the children. The visitation rights can be proposed by the parents, or the court will decide itself. However, in both cases the parents have obligation of maintenance of the children in the amount stated by the court.

3. One of the parents left the Czech Republic and took the children with him/her without approval of the other one. What can the other parent do?

Taking, retention, or concealment of a child or children by a parent in contradiction with the court approved custody rights, including visitation rights of the other parent, can be classified as so-called "parental abduction". The Hague Convention on the Civil aspects of International Child Abduction of 1980, makes it possible to request assistance from relevant state authorities (in the Czech Republic it is the Office for International Legal Protection of Children in Brno) which shall communicate with the relevant Office in the state where the child is staying, if the state is also a party of the Convention, in order to recover the child.

4. Is the parent liable under Czech Criminal Code?

According to the section 200 of the Czech Criminal Code, a person shall be punished by a term of imprisonment up to three years or by a pecuniary penalty, if he/she takes away a child from the care of the person who under the law or an official decision of the Czech court is bound to take care of such child (criminal offense – Abduction of a Child and a Person Suffering from a Mental Breakdown). Another section of Criminal Code related to the family law is the section 196 – Evasion of Alimony Payments. In respect to the child support, whoever does not, even through negligence, fulfill his/her statutory duty to maintain or provide subsistence for another person, shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment up to two years, if an intention is proved, up to three years.Czech courts take quite severe approach to non payment of alimony and the sentences are quite harsh, so it better be avoided.

This article was provided by Prague Connect with the cooperation of the law offices of rutland ježek.

Visit their website to learn more about their services: http://www.rutlandjezek.com/gb/

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