The Family Code of Ukraine

Date of Entry into Force:
January 1, 2004

The Family Code of Ukraine determines principles of marriage, personal non-property and property rights and duties of the married couple, grounds of arising, content of personal non-property and property rights and duties of parents and children, foster parents and adopted children, other members of family and relatives.

Foreigners and stateless persons shall have in Ukraine the same rights and duties in family relations as the citizens of Ukraine, if otherwise is not stipulated by law or international agreements ratified by Ukraine.

According to the Code, the family is the persons who live together, are connected by common everyday life, have mutual rights and duties. Besides, a single person has the rights of family member. The person who reached nubility is entitled to create a family.

Norms of the Code establish that a child is a person who did not reach majority (18 years old). Juvenile shall be considered a child under 14 years old and a minor - from 14 to 18 years old.

Nubility for a woman shall be seventeen and for a man - eighteen years old. Nubility for a person may be decreased to14 years old on decision of court. Marriage is a family union of a man and a woman registered in the state body of civil state acts registration. Religious ceremony of marriage shall not be the ground for arising rights and duties of a married couple. Marriage shall be based on free consent of a woman and a man. Compulsion to marriage shall not be allowed.

Norms of the Code enumerate the cases when marriage between a man and a woman shall be impossible. It refers to prohibition of marriage between the persons who are:
  • immediate family;
  • one's (full, half) brother and sister;
  • cousin brother and sister, one's aunt, uncle and niece, nephew;
  • foster parents and foster child.

The persons who applied for registration of marriage shall inform each other about condition of health. Hiding of serious disease, as well as disease dangerous for the other spouse, their heirs may be the ground for recognition of marriage as invalid.

A woman and a man shall have equal rights and duties in family relations, marriage and family. Family duties are tightly interrelated and therefore shall not be transferred to the other person.

A wife and a husband shall be responsible before each other, before other family members for their behavior in the family; they shall jointly take care of material provision of a family.

The institute of engagement and marriage contract is introduced into the legislation of Ukraine together with coming into force of this Code. So, the engaged shall be considered the persons who applied for registration of marriage. Engagement does not oblige to marry. However, the person who refused to marry shall reimburse to the other party expenses which it bore due to preparing to marriage and wedding. What concerns marriage agreement, it may be concluded between the persons who applied for registration of marriage, as well as between a married couple. If it has been concluded before registration of marriage, it shall come into effect from the date of state registration of marriage. Marriage contract shall be concluded in a written form and notarized. Marriage contract regulates property relations between the married couple, determines their property rights and duties. It shall not regulate personal relations of a married couple, as well as personal relations between them and children. Marriage contract may be cancelled on demand of one of the parties only on the basis of judicial decision.

The Code regulates relations between a man and a woman, which arise between them during engagement, marriage and after breaking marriage relations.

A wife and a husband shall materially support each other during marriage, as well as after its breaking, if one of married couple becomes disable and requires material aid. One of married couple shall support the other one in form in kind or in monetary form upon their agreement.

It is envisaged that for breaking marriage relations the interested party shall apply to the body of state civil state acts registration and in some cases - to court. While settling family dispute the court on application of interested party may take into account local custom, as well as customs of the national minority both parties or one of them refers to, if the customs do not contradict the requirements mentioned in this Code, other laws of Ukraine and public moral.

The Code determines the procedure of division of the property (acquired before, as well as during marriage) between members of married couple after breaking of family relations. It is stipulated that the property acquired by a man and a woman who live as one family, but are not married, shall belong to both of them, if otherwise is not set by a written agreement between them.

A significant part of norms of the Code is devoted to the questions which regulate relations regarding rights and duties of a mother, a father and a child. First and foremost they refer to:
- the question of child's origin from a mother and a father who are married, as well as from those who are not;
- establishment of a mother and a father's duties related to support and bringing up of a child;
- establishment of adult children's duties relative to support of their disable parents.

With the purpose of protection of rights of a child left without the proper supervision the Code stipulates the possibility of his/her adoption, establishment of guardianship or wardship thereof. Information about all children left without parental care and requiring adoption, guardianship or wardship shall be recorded in the centralized register of the Children Adoption Center at the specially authorized central body of executive power in the field of education.
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