Rights and obligations of spouses
Each spouse has the right to decide themselves whether they want to work or participate in social or other activities outside the family.
Read about parents’ obligations towards their children on the InfoFinland web page Bringing up children in Finland.
Maintenance liability of the spouses
Each spouse must, according to their abilities, take part in the family’s shared finances and the subsistence of the spouses. If one of the spouses does not work outside the home, the wealthier spouse must cover, for example, food and clothes.
Children in a marriage
When a married woman has a baby, her husband is automatically named as that child's father in the Population Information System. Both parents will be registered as the child’s guardians.
A married couple can adopt a child together. Adoption is enacted in the Adoption Act. If you are interested in adoption, ask the social services of your municipality for more information.
The property which a spouse has when he or she marries, or which he or she acquires during the marriage, belongs to him or her. Spouses can also procure property for their joint ownership. A married couple has a marital right to each other’s property. If the marriage ends in divorce, the property of both spouses is calculated together and divided equally between the spouses. If the marriage ends in the death of either spouse, the property of both spouses is calculated together and divided equally between the heirs of the deceased spouse, and the surviving spouse. The marital right cannot be overturned by a will. If the spouses have entered into a marital contract, their property will, in the event of divorce or the death of either spouse, be divided according to their marital contract.
Read more about property in marriage and marriage contracts on the InfoFinland page Getting married in Finland, a check list.
Each spouse is responsible alone for the debt they have acquired before or during the marriage. If one of the spouses has incurred debt for the livelihood of the family, for example, for buying groceries, then both spouses are responsible for this debt. If they wish, spouses can take out debt together, in which case they are also jointly responsible for paying it back.
One spouse cannot sell the family’s shared dwelling or the movables belonging to it, such as furniture, without the other one’s permission.
Problems in marriage?
If you have problems in your relationship, you can seek help from, for example, the family counselling centre of your municipality or your health centre.
The InfoFinland page Problems in the family contains information on what you can do if your spouse behaves violently or threatens you with violence.
Many organisations and parishes organise support group activities for divorced people. More information is available for example on the websites of the Family Federation or the Family Counselling Centre of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland.
Sometimes marriages end in a divorce. Read more about the subject on the InfoFinland web page Divorce.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church of FinlandInformation on family counselling provided by the churchLink redirects to another website
Family FederationSupport in a divorceLink redirects to another website
Death of a family member
What to do and where to get help when a family member dies? Read more about the subject on the InfoFinland web page When a close family member dies in Finland.