5 What are the consequences of divorce/separation?

5.1. How is the property (rights in rem) divided?

Under Czech law the joint property regime is terminated by divorce, by death of one of the spouses, or in several other cases stipulated by the law. When the regime is terminated, the rights and obligations which were so far common to both spouses will be divided.

Spouses (former spouses) may agree on the method of the division (which, however, may not affect the rights of third parties), or eventually propose that the court decides on the division (Sections 740 and 765 of the Civil Code). The division by the court (and, if necessary, also the division by agreement of the spouses) is based on the principle that the interests of both spouses in the assets to be divided are the same. Nevertheless, the following aspects are taken into account: in particular the needs of dependent children, furthermore how each spouse took care of the family and how he/she contributed to the acquisition and maintenance of the joint property. At the same time, each spouse has to compensate what was spent from the joint property on his/her exclusive property, and may require reimbursement for what he/she spent from his/her exclusive property on the joint property (Section 742 of the Civil Code).

If the joint property has neither been divided within three years from the termination of the joint property (not even by agreement of the spouses), nor a petition for a division by the court has been filed during this period, the division will be carried out in accordance with the statutory presumption in the following manner: 

  • tangible movable assets are owned by the spouse who uses them as an owner exclusively for his/her own needs, the needs of his/her family or family household, 
  • other movable and real estate assets are co-owned by both spouses, their shares being equal (Section 741 of the Civil Code).

The same rules apply if the joint property was reduced by the marriage contract or dissolved.

5.2. Who is liable for existing debts after the divorce/separation?

Both spouses remain jointly and severally liable against third parties for debts that are related to their joint property and were incurred during marriage, because the division of the property may not affect the rights of third parties. Otherwise third parties may seek a judicial declaration of the division to be invalid against them. Therefore the division of debts is only effective between the spouses (Section 737 of the Civil Code).

For the debts related to the exclusive property of the spouses, the spouses remain separately liable.

5.3.1. In case of a property regime of the community of surplus:

There is no community of surplus regime in the Czech Republic.

5.3.2. In other cases (not community of surplus). Which ones?

Either spouse has to compensate what was spent from the joint property on his/her exclusive property, and is entitled to claim reimbursement for whatever he/she has spent on the joint property from his/her own funds (Section 742 of the Civil Code).

There are no specific rules stipulated in the law as to whether the claim has to be satisfied by means of payment or in kind.