Laws and Useful Information

Entering into Marriage

Right to Marry

  1. Ukrainian legislation does not establish any prohibitions or restrictions on marriages between Ukrainian citizens and foreigners.
  2. In Ukraine, marriage age is 18. A person intending to marry shall meet the marriage age as of the date of the marriage registration. Upon a 16-year individual's application, the court, by its decision, may grant the right to marry to such individual when established that it complies with the interests of such individual.
  3. The marriage is based on the man’s and woman’s self-determination. Coercion of a woman or a man to enter into a marriage is not allowed.
  4. Marriage with a legally incapable person, as well as with a person who otherwise did not realize the sense of his/her actions and/or was not able to control them, may be declared void.
  5. A woman/a man may have only one marriage simultaneously. Woman and man have a right to remarry after termination of the previous marriage only.

Engagement

  1. Individuals who applied for marriage registration are deemed engaged.
  2. Application for marriage registration may be submitted by a woman and a man with any Civil Registry Office (RAGS) upon their discretion. An application for marriage registration shall be submitted by a woman and a man personally. If a woman and/or a man cannot, due to valid reason, submit an application for marriage registration with the RAGS personally such application, being verified with a notary, may be submitted by her and/or his representative. Authorization of a representative shall be verified with a notary.
  3. The engagement does not create an obligation to enter into a marriage.
  4. A party who has renounced the marriage shall indemnify the other party with the expenses attributable to arrangement of the marriage registration and the wedding. Such expenses are not subject to indemnity if the renouncement of the marriage was caused by wrongful, immoral behaviour of the groom/the bride, hiding by one of them the circumstances, being important for the one who renounce the marriage (serious illness, existence of a child, criminal records, etc.).
  5. In case of renouncing the marriage by a person who has received a wedding gift the deed of gift, upon the donor’s request, may be terminated by the court.In case of termination of the deed a person shall reverse the gift or, if the gift was not preserved, indemnify its value.

Date and Place of the Marriage Registration

  1. The marriage may be registered one month upon submitting an application for the marriage registration.
  2. In case of the bride’s pregnancy, birth of her child, as well as existence of danger for the bride’s/the groom’s life, the marriage may be registered on the date of submitting respective application or, upon discretion of the engaged, on any other date during one month.
  3. In case of failure to register the marriage on the appointed date the application for the marriage registration remains valid within three months since the date of its submission.
  4. The marriage shall be registered at the premises of the RAGS. Upon an application of the engaged, the marriage registration shall be performed in a ceremonial manner. If the engaged, due to valid reason, cannot arrive to RAGS the marriage registration, upon their application, may be performed at place of their residence, medication or other place.
  5. Appearance of the groom and the bride at the time of the marriage registration is obligatory. The marriage registration by proxy is not allowed.
  6. For the marriage registration the engaged shall choose their surname after the registration:
    • the mutual surname of one of them,
    • the double surname by annexing the other spouse’s surname (if both of them intend to have a double surname, they shall choose whose surname goes first),
    • saving the maiden name.

Documents Required for the Marriage Registration

For the state marriage registration the following documents are required:

  1. For Ukrainian citizens:
    • passport,
    • document evidencing termination of the previous marriage (a Divorce Certificate, a Death Certificate) - for those remarrying,
  2. For foreigners/stateless persons:
    • passport/passport document,
    • Current Civil Status Certificate (issued by competent justice authorities or the court in the country of citizenship or in the country of permanent residence; remains valid within 6 months upon issuance),
    • document evidencing termination of the previous marriage (a Divorce Certificate, a Death Certificate, a Court Decision on the Marriage Annulment) - for those remarrying,
    • some RAGSes may also require a Birth Certificate.

Each document issued abroad Ukraine, other than the passport, shall be legalized.  A translation of each document into Ukrainian, verified with a Ukrainian notary, shall be annexed to respective document.

Marriage

Non-property Rights and Duties of Spouses

  1. A wife has a right to motherhood.  A husband has a right to fatherhood.  The extent of mutual rights and duties of parents and children does not depend on whether the mother and the father of a child were married as of the date of its birth or further marriage dissolution.
  2. Fatherhood may be established by:Spouses have equal rights to have their individuals, habits and tastes respected.
    • a mutual application of the mother and the father of a child,
    • the court decision.
  3. Spouses have equal rights to physical and spiritual development, to education, to exercise their capacities, to create conditions for work and rest. Spouses may divide between themselves family duties. Spouses shall respect any work in the family interests.
  4. All significant issues of the family life shall be considered by the spouses mutually and on the basis of equality. Each of spouses may object to being precluded from considering issues of family life. It is deemed that the actions of a spouse in relation to family life were performed upon consent of the other.
  5. Spouses shall mutually participate in creating family relations between themselves and with other family members on the basis of mutual love, respect, friendship and support.
  6. The husband shall display in the family respect to the mother. The wife shall display in the family respect to the father. Spouses are liable before each other, as well as other family members for their behaviour.
  7. Spouses shall mutually care of the family support.
  8. Spouses may choose their residence.
  9. Spouses may take any measures, which are not prohibited by the law and do not contradict it, to preserve the marriage relations.

Termination of Marriage / Divorce

Grounds for marriage termination

  1. Each of spouses may terminate his/her marriage relations.
  2. Coercion to terminate or preserve marriage relations, including coercion to sexual relations under physical or psychological pressure, is violation of the wife’s/husband’s right to personal freedom and may cause effects prescribed by the legislation.
  3. The marriage may be terminated in case of:
    • one spouse’s death or declaring him/her dead by the court,
    • divorce.

Divorce between the citizen of Ukraine and the foreigner

  1. Foreigners may dissolve a marriage in Ukraine if a spouse:
    • permanently resides on the territory of Ukraine,
    • registered his/her domicile on the territory of Ukraine.
  2. Ukrainian court applies the legislation of the country which was decided the most reasonable in each single case.
  3. Taking into account complicated procedural requirements of the Ukrainian judicial proceedings, as well as obstacles which may arise, the parties of the divorce proceedings in Ukraine as a rule require services of Ukrainian lawyers.
  4. The divorce proceedings in Ukraine may last from several weeks up to several months.

Property Division in Divorce

Principals of the property division

  1. In case of division of the spouses’ joint property their share in it are deemed equal, unless otherwise has been agreed by them or defined in the marital contract/prenuptial agreement. The spouses remain liable under agreements executed to the benefit of the family, which remain unfulfilled as of the date of the marriage dissolution, in equal proportion.
  2. While considering a case on joint property division, the judge may disregard the principal of equal shares of the spouses taking into account all material respects, including:
    • interests of children of minority age, children of majority age who are incapable of work (providing that the alimony is not enough to ensure physical and spiritual development and medical treatment),
    • mistreatment of family interests, alienation, concealment, destruction of or damage to the joint property or its use contrary to the family interests,
    • one spouse’s inability to have independent sources of income due to a valid reason (education, householding, childcare, disease, etc.).
  3. The judge may declare the property as one spouse’s private property, if such property was acquired before the marriage dissolution, but upon actual termination of marital relations.

Spouses’ joint property being subject to division in divorce

  1. The property acquired by the spouses during marriage is the wife’s and the husband’s joint property, regardless of one spouse’s inability to have independent sources of income due to a valid reason (education, householding, childcare, disease, etc.).
  2. It is presumed that each thing acquired during marriage, except for personal things, is the object of joint property right. Joint property, inter alia, includes:
    • wages, pensions, scholarships, and other income received by a spouse,
    • things for professional activity (musical instruments, office equipment, medical equipment, etc.),
    • money, other property (royalties, gains, etc.) received under agreements to the benefit of the family.

Spouse’s private property which is not subject to division in divorce

  1. Private property of a spouse is:
    • property acquired before the marriage,
    • property acquired as a gift or inheritance,
    • property acquired during marriage with private assets,
    • housing acquired by a spouse as a result of privatization of public housing,
    • a land plot acquired for free out of the lands of the state/municipal property, including as a result of privatization,
    • personal things, including things of value, even acquired with joint assents of the spouses,
    • bonuses, awards for personal services (the court may entitle the other spouse to share in them upon establishing that the latter with his/her actions (householding, childcare, etc.) contributed to them),
    • assets received as compensation for the loss (damage) of his/her personal thing, as well as damages at large,
    • insurance proceeds received on mandatory or voluntary personal insurance if insurance payments were paid with private assets,
    • share in spouses’ joint property in proportion to the contribution of his/her private assets.
  2. If the property acquired with joint assents and a spouse’s private assets the share in property in proportion to the contribution of the latter is his/her private property.

Parents’ Rights Exercise upon Divorce

Alimony

  1. The parents shall maintain a child until majority age. Ways to perform the parents’ obligations to maintain a child are to be determined by agreement between them.
  2. Upon the parents’ agreement, the one who lives separately from a child may participate in the child’s maintenance in cash and/or in kind.
  3. Upon the court decision the assets for the child’s maintenance (alimony) may be adjudged as a share in its father’s/mother’s income and/or in fixed amount.
  4. The child’s alimony shall not amount to less than 30% of living wages for a child of respective age.

Child’s residence

  1. The residence of a child under 10 years shall be defined upon parents’ agreement.
  2. The residence of a child of 10 years shall be defined upon mutual agreement between both parents and a child.
  3. The residence of a child of 14 years may be defined by itself.

Parents’ rights agreements

  1. The parents mutually decide the matters of the child’s upbringing.
  2. A parent who lives separately from a child shall participate in its upbringing and has a right to personal communication with a child.  In the meantime, the other parent shall not hinder the other, unless such communication harms the child’s development.
  3. The parents may execute an agreement on performance of the parents’ rights and duties by the one who lives separately from the child. The agreement shall be executed in writhing and is subject to verification with a notary. If a parent who lives separately from the child avoids performance of the agreement he/she shall indemnify against material and moral damages to the other.

Marriage Contract/Prenuptial Agreement

  1. Marriage contracts may be executed by and between:
    • persons applied for the marriage registration (prenuptial agreement),
    • spouses (marriage contract). 
  2. Marriage contracts shall be executed in writing and are subject to verification with a notary. A prenuptial agreement enters into force as of the date of the marriage registration. A marriage contract enters into force as of the date of its verification with a notary.
  3. Marriage contracts may settle:
    • property relations between the spouses,
    • property rights and duties of the spouses,
    • property rights and duties of the spouses as the parents.
  4. Marriage contracts may not settle:
    • private relations between the spouses,
    • private relations between the spouses and the children,
    • reduce the extent of the child’s rights,
    • a spouse’s financial disadvantages.

 Succession

  1. There are two ways of succession in Ukraine:
    • legal succession,
    • testamentary succession.
  2. Absent a testament or if it is declared void the succession falls under the law.
    Successors of the same priority succeed in equal shares.
    For example, if the testator has a wife and a son each of them succeeds 50% of the property.
  1. The succession is subject to priority:
    • the first priority: parents, spouses and children,
    • the second priority: blood brothers and sisters, grandparents,
    • the third priority: blood aunt and uncle,
    • the fourth priority: persons cohabiting as a family with a testator for 5 of more years.
    • the fifth priority: other relatives up to 6th degree of kindred.

    For example:
    If the testator has a wife, a son and a sister, each of the wife and the son succeeds 50% of the property and the sister succeeds nothing.
    If the testator has a sister, an aunt and an uncle, the sister succeeds 100% of the property, and the aunt and uncle succeed nothing

 

  1. If the successor of respective propriety dies prior to commencement of the succession, the latter is exercised under the right of representation:
    • grandchildren, great-grandchildren of the testator succeed shares of their parents, grandparents (children of the testator),
    • great-grandparents – shares of their children (grandparents of the testator),
    • nephews/nieces – shares of their parents (sisters/brothers of the testator),
    • cousins – shares of their parents (aunts/uncles of the testator).

Direct descend is not limited to any degree of kindred.

For example:

If the testator has a wife and 2 grandchildren, the wife succeeds 50% of the property and each of the grandchildren – 25%, namely, the share to be succeeded by the testator’s living son/daughter.

If the testator has 2 nephews (sister’s sons) and 1 niece (1st brother’s daughter), 2nd brother and grandfather, each of the nephews succeeds 12,5% of the property, each of the niece, 2nd brother and the grandfather – 25%.

  1. If there is a testament, the successors succeed according to the shares specified therein, in compliance with the requirements of the legislation regarding the compulsory portion.

For example, if the testator, having a working son of majority age, leaves all his/her property to his/her sister, the sister succeeds 100% of the property.

  1. The following persons are entitled to compulsory portion: 
    • children under 18,
    • incapable children over 18
    • an incapable surviving spouse,
    • incapable parents.
  2. If any of the said persons is missing in the testament, he/she succeeds 1/2 of the share to be succeeded in the event of legal succession.

For example, if the testator, having a son of 13 and a disabled wife, leaves all his/her property to his/her sister, each of the wife and the son succeeds 25%, and the sister – 50%.