Divorce/seperation process including custody process in Sweden

It is not always easy to understand and get the help you’re entitled to when you are not fluent in Swedish. This is a short information about the process of getting a divorce or separate from your sambo in Sweden. Question about children usually come up in these situations and in the end I will describe how that process works. Hopefully it will help you.

It is important to know that in all contacts with the Swedish government or similar agencies you have the right to a translator. It is important that there are no misunderstandings and therefore you should always ask for one if you’re unsure about anything that is said. The court can translate documents for you and so can other governmental entities when necessary for you to get the correct information.

To get a divorce in Sweden is a fast and easy process. If you both agree and don’t have children you apply to the court together, pay a fee of 900 SEK and the court will approve your divorce. If you don’t agree on the divorce you can always apply alone. Then you will have a period of six months for consideration and after that time you can file for the divorce to be final. The same period of consideration applies if you have children under the age of 16.

When the divorce or separation is final it is always important to divide the property and cut all financial ties between you and your ex. It is important to finalise this as soon as possible, this makes it easier to get all information accurate. This sort of dividing of property should also be done if you lived with someone as a sambo.

Regarding children after a divorce or separation the norm is that parents have joint custody and the children sees both parents as much as possible. If you can’t agree on living arrangements or visitation schedules you can get help trough the municipal entity called “familjerätten”. They can try to help you reach agreements regarding your children.

If that doesn’t work a lawyer can be the next step. The government or your home insurance usually helps with any legal costs regarding consults or court processes that concerns custody or living arrangements. You can always ask the lawyer you contact to explain this bit further.

Regarding any contacts about your children, you always have the right to translations; oral and written when you talk to any governmental entity, for example social services or the court. If you need an interpreter present at meetings with your lawyer just ask and the lawyer will make sure to book that for you.

Your lawyer will help you to reach an agreement with your ex, if that is not possible the next step is to send in an application for custody, decision on living place or visitations to the court. Your lawyer will help you run the case in court and keep you updated on everything that is happening. You will go to court together and your lawyer will make sure that an interpreter is present so you can follow the proceedings. It is important that you can keep up with everything that is happening and your lawyer will make sure to prioritize that. Court proceedings about children will take some time, but it is important that the court have a good base of information before making a final decision. That information often include an investigation done by “familjerätten” where they meet both parties and the children to try and give the court a better picture of the situation. This is to help the court make a decision in the best interest of the children.

/Jessica Carvalho Åström, lawyer

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