Divorce in Sweden – FAQ in Family Law

Skilsmässa och bodelning advokat

Divorce in Sweden – FAQ in Family Law

In this article, family lawyer Johan Lindgren provides brief information on how to file for divorce alone or jointly and gives general answers to common questions related to divorce in Sweden i.e. custody and division of property.

How do I apply for a divorce in Sweden?

You apply for divorce by submitting an application to the district court. The forms for doing this can be found on the website of the National Courts Administration. It is also possible to apply digitally using a bank ID if the spouses agree. The application fee is SEK 900. You need proof of identity from the Swedish Tax Agency if you submit a written application. We at Advokatbyrån Familj & Försvar (Law Firm Family & Defence) always help our clients with the application and legal advice.

Can I file for divorce myself/alone?

Yes, you can apply for a divorce yourself, without your spouse.

Do we have to file for divorce together?

No, you do not. However, the advantage is that it is quicker as the other spouse needs to be served with the application if you apply for a divorce alone.

Is there always a period for consideration?

No, there is not. A period for consideration only arises if the parties have children living with them who are under the age of 16 or if one of the parties so wishes.

How long is the consideration period in Sweden?

The period for consideration in Sweden is six (6) months.

What is the duration of a divorce proceeding at a district court in Stockholm?

Without a consideration period and in the case of a joint application, the district court can issue a judgment quickly. The processing time varies, from one to a few weeks.

Who gets to stay in the home in case of divorce or separation in Sweden?

During the consideration period or until the division of the spouses' finances has been completed through division of property (see below), and if the parties cannot agree on who should live in the home until the division of property is completed, a spouse can apply to the district court for the right to remain in the home (kvarsittningsrätt). A lawyer should be consulted in this case. The spouses may also be forbidden to visit each other and the person granted the right to remain in the home may change the locks of the house.

If the spouses cannot agree on who should take over the house or apartment in the division of property, a property division judge can decide this. The assessment takes into account, among other things, which of the spouses has the greatest need for the home, where the children live, and who has the financial ability to take care of the home.

Where should the children live in case of divorce in Sweden?

You can find information about this in the article “Var ska barnen bo vid separation eller skilsmässa?” (Where Should the Children Live in Case of Separation or Divorce?).

Does one parent automatically get sole custody in Sweden?

No. If a parent wishes to have sole custody, this must be specifically requested in the application. Read more in the article “Vårdnadstvist – att ansöka om ensam vårdnad” (Custody Dispute - Applying for Sole Custody).

What is a division of property and a property division agreement?

Property division means that the financial assets and debts of the spouses are divided between them. As a general rule, the division of property must take place in the event of divorce or the death of a spouse. The division of property in Sweden is usually done by the parties drawing up a written agreement through the assistance of a lawyer. For the agreement to be legally correct, you should contact a family lawyer. We lawyers want to warn against online templates as they often contain wordings and conditions that create invalid agreements or undesirable financial consequences.

Does division of property always have to take place in Sweden?

The division of property is not necessary in Sweden if the spouses only have separate property and neither of them asks to take the other spouse's dwelling or household goods.

What is included in the property division in Sweden?

The main rule is that all marital property held by the spouses should be divided equally between the spouses. It is the net balance after deduction of taxes and sales costs that should be divided.

Why is the date of filing for divorce important for the division of property?

The day the district court receives the application for divorce is called the critical date. The division of property is based on the property situation (assets and debts) on this date. Assets and liabilities arising after this date should, as a general rule, be left out of the division of property.

What is marital property and what is separate property during marriage?

Separate property is property which a spouse may exclude from the division of property and which is thus not to be divided between the spouses. Separate property may arise e.g. from a prenuptial agreement, a provision in a will, or a deed of gift. In simple terms, all other property, except personal property used only by one party, is marital property and thus to be divided equally between the spouses.

The right to remain in the home – how do you apply for it?

The application for the right to remain in the home is filed with the district court where you live. You should be represented by a lawyer through the process. Applications can also be made in ongoing divorce proceedings. The district court gives both parties the opportunity to be heard and convenes a hearing. As a general rule, the party who loses the case must pay the other party's legal costs. See also the above answer to "Who gets to stay in the home in case of divorce or separation?" for more information.

Can we have a joint lawyer in the division of property in Sweden?

Yes, if the parties agree, the same divorce lawyer can assist both parties with a property division agreement. This is very common. At Advokatbyrån Familj & Försvar (Law Firm Family & Defence) , we try as far as possible to help the parties reach an agreement. However, if we only represent one client, we only represent our client's interests.

What happens if we can't agree on finances and the property division?

In this case, one or both parties can apply to the district court for an estate distribution executor. An estate distribution executor is a lawyer who, on behalf of the district court, decides on the division of property. The spouses are jointly liable for the estate distribution executor's fees.

Advokatbyrån Familj & Försvar’s (Law Firm Family & Defence) lawyers are specialists in divorces, division of property, family law, custody disputes, children’s residence and right of contact with children, and court proceedings. We have a confidentiality obligation. At Advokatbyrån Familj & Försvar you can feel safe and you get helped by specialists. We help you apply for legal protection through your legal assistance insurance or legal aid and we offer an initial free consultation by telephone for an analysis of your needs.

Johan Lindgren
Advokat och grundare