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In the unfortunate event that you need to file a divorce in Spain, here's a brief guide ..

Getting a divorce in Spain is a relatively straightforward process provided both parties agree on the appropriate arrangements for children and assets. The divorce law in Spain is no-fault, meaning that it is not necessary to cite a reason in order to obtain a divorce. It only requires a petition from one of the spouses. Non-Spanish nationals can obtain a divorce in Spain if they or their spouse is a Spanish resident or a Spanish national.

Once the divorce is granted, the parties to the marriage can remarry legally. Both parties will immediately lose any marital inheritance rights and widow's pension rights, as well as those obligations directly derived from their marriage. In addition, any joint financial liabilities the couple has in relation to third parties are terminated. However, the divorced parents still keep their duties with regard to their children.

Spanish courts generally award alimony only where one of the spouses is clearly disadvantaged economically as a result of the divorce. A typical example would be where one spouse has given up a career to look after the children. Alimony awards vary but are generally between 15 – 40 percent of the higher income.

Where younger children are concerned, custody is awarded to the mother in most cases, unless there are factors that demonstrate this would not be in the best interest of the child. In recent years the courts have paid greater attention to considering awarding joint custody. If the couple agrees to share visitation rights the judge will take this into account.

Regarding the division of assets, the rules are affected by where the couple is living. In Catalonia, Aragon, Navarre, Balearic Islands and the Basque Country, ‘Separción de Bienes’ is the default system. This allows a couple to retain ownership of items that they brought with them into the marriage. Where joint purchases were made during the marriage they are divided according to the contribution made by each party. Court rulings have also attributed a financial value to non-financial contributions, such as doing domestic chores or raising children.

In the other Spanish regions, ‘Sociedad de Gananciales’ applies, where all assets acquired during the marriage are considered to belong to both spouses equally, unless they are ‘private goods’. Dual ownership would apply to rental income, businesses and goods bought via installments from the ‘matrimonial pot’.

You may get divorced in Spain if you comply with any of the following requirements ..
  • If you and your spouse are Spanish residents at the time of filing for divorce.
  • If you and your spouse are Spanish nationals, in case of divorce by mutual agreement, wherever you are located.
  • If you are the plaintiff and are a Spanish national and living in Spain.
  • If you are the defendant and are a Spanish resident (regardless of your nationality)

The spouses may divorce by mutual agreement when they have been married for at least three full months. Whenever the parties ask the judge for a divorce order, a proposal of governing convention (convenio regulador) must be attached to the petition. It is not necessary for the couple to have been legally separated for any period of time before filing for divorce.

In certain cases a party may petition for a divorce without waiting for the three-month period. This would apply when there is a proven danger to the life, physical integrity, liberty, moral integrity or sexual liberty or indemnity of the petitioner.

Types of divorce in Spain

Uncontested divorce
The procedure for getting a divorce is quickest when both parties agree to the dissolution of the marriage. Along with the claim, the parties need to present the governing convention (convenio regulador). This is the contract of agreement covering the principal issues:

Contested divorce

In this case the divorce petition is filed by only one of the parties to the marriage, sometimes known as a ‘contentious’ divorce, and the court procedure is long and somewhat complex. If the parties fail to agree on the governing convention, it may require negotiation and communication between lawyers and the production of third party evidence.

A contested divorce can take anywhere from a few months to a more than a year.

Outcome of the divorce

The sentence determining the divorce will be filed to the Spanish Civil Registry. This sentence can be appealed. The parties may apply for the modification of the measures established by the sentence, and such modification shall be made by means of a subsequent judicial dictum.

 
Litigation
Claims and litigation ...
For further information

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