A guide to Spanish divorce laws

If you are attempting to obtain a divorce in Spain, you will need to understand the legal steps you must take to legally end your marriage or civil partnership in Spain. You will need a comprehensive understanding of the divorce and family related to Spain.

Here, we provide a full guide to the Spanish family and divorce law related to obtaining a divorce in Spain – including the documents required, the grounds for divorce, and other relevant information. We also explain the importance of working with a multilingual law firm.

Click on the links below to jump to that section:

The rules of divorce in Spain.

Documents you are required to provide to obtain a divorce in Spain.

The length of time it may take to obtain a divorce in Spain and what factors can influence this.

Guide to getting a divorce in Spain if you have different nationalities.

Guide to child custody laws in Spain following divorce.

What happens to a property following a divorce in Spain.

Read the benefits of working with Giambrone & Partners.

What are the law relating to divorce in Spain?

In Spain, there are only two types of divorce; contested and uncontested.

An uncontested divorce

An uncontested divorce occurs when both parties come to a mutual agreement about the divorce without argument. This option is always more desirable, as both spouses agree and they may have drafted the terms that they have agreed on regarding the matrimonial property and children of the marriage.

A contested divorce

Contested divorces are only petitioned by one spouse, when the other spouse does not want to be party to.

Legal separation in Spain is categorised as a "no-fault" divorce, so blame does not have to be allocated to either party.

This option of divorce is often more hostile and can sometimes be a more complicated process.

What documents do you require to obtain a divorce in Spain?

In order to get divorced in Spain, you must gather certain documents in order to begin proceedings. These documents include:

  • Your marriage certificate and the birth certificates of any children of the marriage.
  • A certificate of empadronamiento (census) of one of the spouses (usually the spouse who has Spanish citizenship, if only one party does)
  • A convenio regulador. This is a divorce agreement that you and your spouse have drafted together, in the event of a non-contested divorce, which highlights details such as child custody arrangements and financial assets.

If you are unsure how to prepare your documents, our specialist lawyers can advise.

Do you need to translate your documents into Spanish?

The documents must be translated into Spanish of your documents are in English, at least three months before divorce proceedings begin. These translations must also have an official seal, known as the Certificate of Apostille of the Hague. If you need assistance with document translation, our Spanish lawyers will assist.

Divorce in Spain when you are of differing nationalities

You can obtain a divorce through the Spanish courts if you or your spouse live in Spain, or if one or both of you is a Spanish national. You can also obtain a divorce in Spain if only one party is a Spanish resident. If you no longer live in Spain at the time of your divorce, but your spouse does, then they must be the party to apply for divorce proceedings.

Whether your visa allows you to stay in Spain after the divorce depends on a number of factors. If you wish to remain in Spain, you must apply to the Spanish Administration when your divorce is finalised and state the reasons why you believe you should be allowed to stay. These reasons could include visitation rights to your children, you have won full or joint custody, or you were a victim of domestic abuse. If you need help building your case, you can speak to one of our lawyers today.

Can divorce be filed in two countries?

The laws on filing for divorce in different countries differ from country to country, so it is important to seek legal advice beforehand. In the past there was the option of “issuing first”, now the most relevant jurisdiction is the overriding factor, meaning that factors such as where the family lived and plan to live in the future are taken into account.

How to transfer property following divorce

How you transfer your property following a divorce can depend on the regime your marriage followed. For instance, if the community regime applies, each spouse gets 50%, making it harder to decide who gets full ownership following the divorce. If the couple cannot agree on who receives the property, legal action will more than likely be necessary.

According to the Spanish Civil Code, an inventory containing all assets will be produced, including the common assets and the pending debts of the property. The matrimonial home is a 'special' asset that will be dealt with separately. If you don't have children and the property is jointly owned, it will typically be sold, and the money will be shared between the spouses. Otherwise, one spouse will keep the property and pay the other their share.

If children are involved, and one parent has gained custody, the home will be provided to them until the children come of age and leave home.

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What is the law relating to custody of children of the marriage child after divorce in Spain?

No matter whether you are divorcing or separating, the process of deciding the custody of children remains the same. If the child resides in Spain, the matter must be decided by a Spanish court. The parents can reach a joint agreement concerning what happens to the children, and a judge will consider the child's best interests. In many cases, the mother gets full custody, or joint custody will be awarded.

All agreements should include information such as visitation rights including the amount of time. allocated. Sometimes, parents cannot reach an agreement, meaning you will have to present your case as to why you disagree with your former spouse, giving the reasons and a judge will decide what is best for the child.

If agreement on the child’s habitual place of residence cannot be reached between the parties, the Spanish courts will take various factors into consideration. Most importantly, the requirements of the child will be the main consideration. Their health, education and welfare will ultimately decide where they live, as well as their degree of closeness to other relatives, such as grandparents.

If you wish to build your case to gain custody of your children but are unsure of the legal issues surrounding Spanish divorce law and international family law, we can assist you throughout. You can get in contact with us today.

How Giambrone & Partners can help

At Giambrone & Partners, we have many years of experience in advising on Spanish divorce cases, representing clients in both the UK and Spain. We can analyse your case and provide an honest view of the proceedings, helping you save time and granting you peace of mind. Working with a multilingual divorce lawyer can help to speed up the divorce process and ensure you are clear of your options throughout.

If you would like to get in touch with us for a consultation, please contact us here.

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