Divorce in Spain: the different types of divorce

While no one plans that their marriage will not last, divorce, unfortunately, is extremely common. When the prospect of divorce arises it is necessary to seek proper legal advice. This is especially true if your divorce proceedings take place in Spain, and you reside in the UK or are a UK citizen.

Here, we look at the different types of Spanish divorce and who qualifies for them, as well as exploring the grounds for divorce in Spain. We will explain how Spanish divorce law differs from the UK, and the potential costs. Giambrone and Partners can help answer some common queries regarding the Spanish divorce process.

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Learn more about divorce in Spain.

Find out what criteria spouses have to meet in a divorce case.

Understand the various rules of divorce.

Discover more about the average price of a divorce, excluding legal advice

Here's how our expert international divorce lawyers can help you

We answer some frequently asked questions

What are the different procedures for Spanish divorce?

Divorce in Spain is either contested or uncontested. A contested divorce is when one party files a divorce petition and the other party resists divorce and does not file for divorce. This can lead to complex negotiations on custody, assets and maintenance and can take up to a year to resolve.

An uncontested divorce, on the other hand, is when both parties file a divorce petition by mutual agreement. This means that both parties are able to use the same legal representative, and that financial and child custody agreements are generally quicker and easier than if the divorce is contested. This is sometimes known as an "express" divorce.

You can find out more about family law and disputes in our advice centre here.

Who qualifies for a Spanish divorce?

If you wish to apply for a Spanish divorce, there are certain criteria you will need to meet in order to qualify. One spouse will need to be a Spanish resident, or alternatively the children of the marriage live in Spain. You will need a Spanish divorce lawyer who can petition a judge and obtain a divorce order. Once this is done, the lawyer will create a proposal of governing convention which covers such issues as shared custody of children, maintenance payments, what will happen regarding the family home and where each party will live and any other financial issues.

A marriage certificate, children's birth certificates, the proposal of governing convention, and a document showing both your or your spouse's Spanish address (a certificate of empadronamiento). Any documents not in Spanish must be translated into Spanish by an official translator.

Giambrone & Partners Spanish and international lawyers can help you prepare for your divorce.

What are the grounds for divorce in Spain?

Spain provides a no-fault (or blameless) divorce law, which means that you do not need to state a reason for your divorce. You can also divorce after just three months of marriage, and these rules also apply to same-sex couples.

How does divorce law in Spain differ from the UK?

The divorce process in the UK and divorce in Spain are now similar. The United Kingdom has recently adopted a no-fault divorce regime. In the UK you can only divorce after you have been married for a year, your marriage has permanently broken down, and your marriage is legally recognised in England and Wales. In Spain, you only need to have been married for three months, and one or both spouses need to sign the divorce petition.

How Giambrone and Partners can help

Giambrone and Partners is an international law firm, skilled in handling family law with considerable dispute resolution experience across many European countries. We can help you to understand the challenges inherent in Spanish divorce. Our expert team can help you with translations and understanding Spanish laws versus England and Wales laws. Get in touch via our contact form to find out more about how we can support you.

Common queries

Where can I apply for a divorce petition in Spain?

When applying for a divorce petition in Spain, a Spanish divorce lawyer can apply for a divorce petition via the Spanish courts in the area closest to your connections in Spain. You must have been living in Spain, or your partner must have had a Spanish residence, for at least six months before applying for a divorce petition.

How long does a divorce take in Spain?

The minimum amount of time a divorce takes to complete in Spain is between four to six months for an uncontested divorce; however, this can take considerably longer in a contested divorce, or if you have children, property, and other factors to consider.

What are your rights if you get divorced in Spain?

Divorce in Spain entitles each party to the shared assets and, in some cases, one party may have the right to receive some financial compensation if they have lost financial security during the divorce. With regard to children, both parents have the right to be part of decisions regarding them, outside of any established sole and joint custody agreement.

These decisions could include where they live, where they are educated, and any decisions regarding their health. However, the rights of each party vary, depending on the unique circumstances and complexities in relation to the parties involved.