There are two ways to obtain a separation:
Under both procedures, it must be proved that a complete breakdown of the marriage has occurred, i.e. that there are no emotional, physical, and economic ties. It need not be proved that the breakdown of the marriage is irretrievable.
However, the court will not adjudicate separation if it might be prejudicial to the good of the spouses' common minor children, or if, for other reasons, adjudication of separation would be contrary to the principles of community life.
The non-litigious procedure
When both spouses want separation and agree on its terms, they may file a joint petition for separation with the regional court. Such a petition may also be signed by one of the spouses with the other spouse only expressing his or her consent. In such a case, the court considers the matter under the so-called non-litigious procedure and issues a decision. This procedure is available only if both spouses consent to separation and additionally they have no minor children together.
The ordinary litigious procedure
In the absence of mutual consent of the spouses, a petition for separation may be filed with the regional court by either of the spouses. The court fee amounts to PLN 500 (there are no other fees, which exist in the case of divorce).
The procedure usually involves a reconciliation hearing and the trial (consisting of one or more hearings). The case ends with a judgment. The court decides which of the spouses is guilty of the breakdown of the marriage (unless the spouses request a no-fault separation).
Both in the non-litigious procedure and in the ordinary litigious procedure an appeal may be lodged. Appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal. A special appeal from the decision of the Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court is not possible.