Spanish Divorce

Divorce is a relatively new concept in Spanish law and only began 1981. Under Spanish Divorce law fault on behalf of one spouse does not need to be established as long as a petition is received from one of the spouses.

Non-Spanish nationals can also obtain divorce under Spanish law providing they or their spouse are a Spanish resident or national. Under Spanish law the process of obtaining divorce is straightforward providing child and assets arrangements are agreed.

Spanish nationals can also obtain a divorce under the United Kingdom law. Providing one of the nationals is of British nationality or resident of Greater Britain.  

Our Spanish family law experts can look to help you today by providing a consultation and discussing bringing a Spanish divorce within the UK.

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Process for Spanish Divorce

In order to obtain a Spanish divorce, you must have been married for at least 3 months. The following requirements must be complied with to obtain a divorce in Spain:

  • If both spouses are Spanish residents at the time of applying for divorce
  • If both spouses are Spanish nationals and are divorcing by mutual agreement, regardless of where they are residing,
  • If you are the applicant and are a Spanish national and live in Spain
  • If you are the respondent and live in Spain regardless of your nationality.

Under Spanish Law you are not required to have separated from your spouse for any relevant time before applying for divorce. As with most European countries, there are two types of divorce under Spanish law.

Uncontested Divorce – this involves both spouses mutually agreeing to dissolve the marriage. This is the quickest method of divorce as it requires the parties providing a contract of agreement to the governing convention which covers the following:

  • Custody arrangements for children and access issues
  • The amount of payments for child maintenance known as alimony.
  • Any payments to be made between the spouses
  • The manner if any the spouses will continue to contribute to the family expenses
  • Use of the family house.

The judge will make the final decision on the divorce and provided there are no issues an uncontested divorce can be concluded within a few weeks.

Contested Divorce – This involves a complex and long procedure and requires only one of the spouses to file for the divorce. Communication between experts and further evidence may be required to settle this matter should parties not be able to reach a mutual agreement.

Unlike the non-contested the divorce, a contested divorce under Spanish law can take anytime from a few months to over a year.

Once the judge has agreed the divorce, it is filed with the Spanish Civil Registry. You can appeal and have the terms of the divorce modified if you wish to do so.

Prenuptial agreements in Spain

Unlike in the UK, Prenuptial and post nuptial agreements under Spanish law are enforceable and legally binding and are considered in divorce proceedings unless the document represents an unfair disadvantage to one of the spouses.  

Our Spanish family law experts are at hand to discuss the prenuptial and post nuptial agreements with you in more detail and can also be contacted via skype to try and provide you with the timely advice you need.

Under Spanish law there are 3 regimes which could be set up or modified which affect the marriage or its financial consequences. This is very similar to prenuptial or post nuptial agreements.

The 3 regimes under the Spanish law are:

  • Community of Assets – under this regime all profit and losses are shared equally between the parties and in the event of a divorce, property will be split equally and joint-owned by both spouses.
  • Separate Property – under this regime each spouse keeps their own assets acquired before and during the marriage.
  • Partition Scheme – under this regime one spouse can share the profits and benefits gained by the other spouse during the marriage.

Alimony in Spain

Alimony in Spain is a financial payment made by one of the spouses to the other following divorce. These payments under Spanish law are not very common.

Under Spanish Law alimony should only be awarded where one of the spouses is clearly disadvantaged financially as a result of the divorce. It would typically be awarded where one of the spouses has had to neglect their career in order to support their marriage and children.

Factors that are relevant when considering alimony under Spanish law are the ages of the spouses, their health, and the professional status of the spouse requesting the award as well as their possibilities in general with regard to finding work, the duration of the marriage and the means of income of both spouses.

Child custody under Spanish law

Previously custody was usually awarded to mothers under Spanish law unless it was demonstrated that this would not be in the child’s best interests. If the children reside in Spain then this would need to be dealt with in Spain. Following a divorce child custody for children under the age of 18 can be given to any parent but most commonly it is joint or to the mother. Under Spanish law the views and wishes of a child aged 13 or over are taken in consideration when awarding child custody.

Both partners would need to prepare an agreement which would contain contact arrangements and if approved by the judge this would then be incorporated within the divorce agreement. This agreement can be changed at any time by going back to the Spanish court.

It is important to note that if following a Spanish divorce, parents cannot agree on custody or contact agreements the judge will look at this and make a decision which will be binding.

If your child is currently in the UK or has strong ties with the UK and is based in Spain then you may want to consult with our international family law specialists.

Our Spanish family law experts have assisted many people during the difficult divorce period and we are sure we can be of assistance to you. For more information please contact us to arrange a consultation in with our Spanish divorce experts who can swiftly guide you through your case.

Consulting with Spanish divorce experts early on

It may be appropriate for you for consult with Spanish divorce experts to enable you to assess which jurisdiction would be best for you to start your divorce and financial proceedings.  

Our Spanish divorce experts can assist you with making that decision based on your personal circumstances which can be discussed at a no obligation consultation. Did you know as well dealing with Spanish divorces brought in the UK we also deal with Italian divorce.  


Do I need to live in the UK to bring a Spanish divorce to English Courts? 

No! If you or your spouse has lived in the UK for a period before the divorce petition or one spouse was born in England or Wales, you’re able to bring a Spanish divorce to the UK.

I married in Spain and I have not yet legally separated from my partner can I still apply for Divorce?

Under Spanish law provided you have been married for a period of at least 3 months you can apply for a divorce. You do not need to be legally separated in order to apply for a divorce.

Spanish divorce in the UK

According to Spanish law, you may be able to pursue a Spanish divorce in the UK if you or your spouse are currently living in England or Wales or have lived in England or Wales. It is therefore vital you contact one of our Spanish family law experts early in the process so we can look to consider your options and provide you with assistance in the best possible way.

Please note that we do not practice Spanish law but provide legal advice and assistance on commencing an international divorce in the UK from Spain.

If you wish to arrange a consultation to explore options on pursuing a divorce in the UK then you can contact us on 0330 094 5880 or let us call you back. Did you know as well as having family law experts in York we also have office an office in London. We are also able to provide advice to clients living abroad and offer the facility of a consultation via Skype.