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Last year, Poles filed nearly 81 thousand divorce lawsuits

LAWLast year, Poles filed nearly 81 thousand divorce lawsuits

In 2023, nearly 81,000 divorce applications were submitted to regional courts across Poland, only 3% more than in 2022. Thus, the bleak scenarios proposed by experts last year predicting a deterioration of the situation did not materialize. However, upon examining the data in detail, it is evident that Warsaw has the most divorce proceedings in total, as two courts in the capital city process divorce applications. The highest number of cases across the country was recorded by the Regional Court (SO) in Poznan, whereas the one in Przemysl was at the bottom of the list. Experts observing these data believe that there will be no significant change in the number of divorce applications this year and that this state will rather continue at a similar level year after year.

Slight increase in the number of applications

Data provided by 47 Regional Courts reveal that in the whole of 2023, they received just under 81,000 divorce applications. This is only a 3% increase from 2022 when around 78.500 cases were recorded. It raises the question of whether these statistics reflect marital crises during the pandemic or from an earlier period or merely the outcome of decisions made post-lockdown. Dr. Małgorzata Eysymontt, a lawyer specializing in family law and lecturer at the SWPS University, emphasizes that the decision to divorce does not happen overnight. It usually is a process spread over time which people gradually mature towards. Nevertheless, during the pandemic, especially during the enforced isolation, communication issues or crises in everyday coexistence started to appear in marriages. Pre-existing conflict may have worsened.

Furthermore, Michał Pajdak from points out that comparing numbers on a yearly basis does not provide a clear picture of how dynamic the phenomenon is. He cites data showing that by the end of 2022, there were more than 8.5 million legalized partnerships in Poland.

Pandemic boosted the statistics

Michał Pajdak agrees with the view that confinement at home could be a significant factor influencing decisions about the continuity of marriages — both in a positive and negative sense. Some spouses may have decided to postpone the divorce, whilst others realized they wish to proceed as soon as possible.

In 2023, the highest number of divorce applications were received by the Regional Court in Poznan, Warsaw, Gdansk, Krakow, and the SO Warsaw Praga in Warsaw. On the other hand, the fewest applications were received in Przemysl, Łomża, Krosno, Suwałki, and Tarnów.

Situation will likely be stable

The divorce process in Poland takes from several to a dozen months or so, depending on the complexity of the dispute and if there’s a demand to place the blame on one of the spouses. Cases of couples with minor children tend to persist longer.

Michał Pajdak adds that the duration of a divorce is mainly determined by two periods. One is waiting for the trial date in court, which depending on the court’s location, takes from 3 to 7 months. The second phase starts on the day of the first trial and ends when a final verdict is given. The expert also recalls that there’s a possibility of pronouncing the divorce already at the first trial, although this depends on several factors, such as having underage children and expressing readiness to divide the property in the same proceedings.

The expert, who has been analyzing the topic of divorces in Poland for many years, mainly expects that there will be no significant change in the number of divorce applications filed this year. In his view, this state will rather continue at a similar year-to-year level (rdr). Moreover, taking into account additional aspects, it should be noted that fewer and fewer new marriages are being contracted, which in a way may also “normalize” future statistics.

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