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Son and father will be together: the mother “let go” of the family and agreed to divorce from abroad

Publication date: April 11, 2024

“Help me get a divorce”. Oleh* from the Luhansk oblast approached the NGO Civic Platform with this request. The single father of a 10-year-old son had long wanted to divorce but had no idea where to start.

In 2014, Oleh and his wife Svitlana* had a son. That same year, war broke out in their hometown of Luhansk, and the family was forced to leave the occupied city for the government-controlled part of the Luhansk oblast. According to the man, something seemed to have changed in his wife since then: she categorically did not want to raise a child, and above all, she wanted to work, but only abroad, in Poland. Oleh worked two jobs to support the family, but Svitlana was not satisfied with the family’s financial situation; she kept talking about earning money abroad, which became a daily scandal. Her husband had to “let her go”. 

For the first few months, everything seemed to be going well. The mother-in-law, who lived with them, helped with the son, and the wife often called from Poland. But the calls became less frequent over time, and Svitlana’s voice became more indifferent. Eventually, she stopped answering calls not only from her husband but also from her mother. Later, Oleh found out that his wife was living with another man and abusing alcohol.

Eight years they were passed like this. A full-scale war broke out. Oleh and his son were forced to move again. The small family moved to Dnipro. 

Oleh wanted to join the Armed Forces, but his mother-in-law died, and he had no one to leave his son with. A year later, Oleh received a draft notice. The question arose: what would he do now, and who would his son be with? In addition, the man had had asthma since childhood. He had to undergo a medical examination.

Then, Oleh contacted the NGO Civic Platform, which is also a resettled organization whose team is currently working in Dnipro.

After listening to the man’s story, the organization’s lawyer, Hanna Ziubina, advised him on the divorce process and provided legal assistance.

“By the Law of Ukraine “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on Mandatory Registration and Use of Electronic Accounts in the Unified Judicial Information and Telecommunication System or its separate subsystem (module) that provides for the exchange of documents”, we created an application to the court and an account for Oleh in the electronic court. In the application, we asked to dissolve the marriage and let the son live with his father. According to Article 110 of the Family Code of Ukraine, one of the spouses has the right to file a divorce petition with the court alone,” says Hanna Ziubina.

The lawyer also notes that you should attach a copy of your passport, marriage certificate and children’s birth certificates to such a statement. The statement of claim must include the other spouse’s address or the address of the institution where he or she works so that the court can properly notify the other spouse of the proceedings. Along with the application, you must also file other claims, such as determining the child’s residence, alimony, division of property, etc.

“This process is much more complicated and time-consuming than when both husband and wife agree to divorce. But we managed to contact Oleh’s wife, who was not against the process. We collected some answers from both spouses,” adds Hanna Ziubina.

The spouses received the divorce electronically within one month. The court also ordered the son to live with his father.

“We are proud to know Oleh. And we sincerely wish our friend and his son health and happiness,” the lawyer said.

*Name changed for ethical reasons.

The material was created with the support of the international charity platform GlobalGiving and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation. The publication’s content is solely the responsibility of the Legal Development Network.

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