Divorce in Spain for foreigners

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There are many reasons people decide to divorce, be it infidelity, irreconcilable differences, or even boredom. Whatever the cause is, it can bring about a challenging time for those affected by the breakdown of their marriage. According to Spain’s National Statistics Institute, divorce rates in Spain are rising with an average of three divorces per day in 2006. Divorce has become so common that it may even be considered another part of modern life. Unfortunately, there are still considerable difficulties surrounding the process, particularly for foreigners living here who don’t speak fluent Spanish.
Let’s take a closer look at how our law firm might help you when going through a divorce. Does this piece also answer your question about What are the 2 types of divorce in Spain? This piece contains everything you need to know about divorce in Spain and how you can benefit from our existence.

What Is Divorce in Spain?

Divorce in Spain
reasons for divorce in spain

Contested or uncontested divorce in Spain is governed by article 56 of the Spanish Civil Code. Divorce is defined as ‘the dissolution of the matrimonial union.’

People can get divorced for many reasons, but there are only three types of divorce in Spain. There is divorce by mutual agreement, divorce for separation for two years if the spouses have no children, or divorce for one year if the spouse has children.

Notably, there is no such thing as a ‘no-fault divorce in Spain. This means that you cannot get divorced simply because your partner cheated on you, for example, unless you can prove it beforehand. Furthermore, adultery isn’t seen as a reason for the end of the marriage. This means that you cannot ask for a divorce on this ground as adultery is not seen as ‘sufficiently serious’ to warrant dissolving a marriage.

If you choose divorce by mutual agreement, you will also have to file for a separation first to file for divorce. If it’s divorce via separation for two or one years, you won’t have to file for a separation first.
If you are planning on filing for divorce in Spain, you must know your rights and options and the steps involved before deciding. Is this what you would like to do? If so, read on.

Who Can Ask for a Divorce?

According to Article 59 of the Spanish Civil Code, only the ‘injured spouse’ can ask for a divorce.

The injured party is defined as ‘the spouse who has suffered harm or injury because the other spouse failed in marital obligations.’ This means that if your partner cheated on you, was violent towards you, or neglected you, then you are the injured party and able to file for divorce.

However, if you don’t fall into one of these categories, your partner is the injured party. This means that only your partner can ask for a divorce if they want out. You would have to wait until they ask for it or until they are granted the separation requested by them before you can file for divorce.

What Are the Requirements to File for Divorce in Spain?

To file for divorce, you must fulfill one or several of the following requirements: You were married in Spain, and at least one spouse is currently living in Spain, Or The defendant (the spouse who was not injured) lives in Spain, and either one of you is a legal Spanish resident of Spain, or the defendant lives in Spain, and the plaintiff (the injured spouse) is a citizen of a country that has an agreement with Spain.

The requirements to file for divorce depend on where you were married, who filed the request, and whether or not one or both of you are Spanish citizens. It’s also necessary that one or both of you live in Spain. Suppose the defendant lives outside the country and is not a Spanish citizen. In that case, you can apply to have them served with divorce papers by way of a letter informing them that they face proceedings (a notificación extrajudicial de demanda).

In addition, the following documents need to be produced by the plaintiff when filing for divorce: A copy of proof of age; A certificate of marital status, which is called a certificado de Estado civil. This can be requested from your local registry office (juzgado de Paz); and Certified copies of birth certificates.

If you cannot provide all of these forms, you must provide a sworn statement with your reasons, or your request will be denied.

How much does a divorce cost in Spain?

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cost of divorce in spain – divorce in spain assets

Different fees depend on whether you choose separation for a year or two years and whether or not you file for divorce with mutual agreement. The fees vary from court to court, but there’s usually a fee when petition is filed, which you pay at the registry office. This fee also applies if you are filing for divorce with mutual consent. You will then be required to pay another fee for the legalization of the decision.

The Spanish courts fees depend on where you live and whether or not one of both spouses is a Spanish national, so it’s best to check with your local court for more information. The process also requires the services of a lawyer, and costs will vary depending on, again, where you live and whether or not your spouse is Spanish. There’s an average of 1500€ – 3500€ legal costs involved in filing for divorce.

Do I Have to Divorce My Ex If We Live in Different Countries?

If you and your spouse live in different countries, you can still go ahead with filing for divorce in Spain if at least one of you meets the requirements mentioned above. Only when both spouses do not meet these requirements can a divorce be filed in Spain.

Can I stay in Spain after Divorce?

Yes, it’s possible to stay in Spain after divorce, even if you’re not a registered citizen. However, you must work on your paperwork to avoid being on the wrong side of the law.

What is express divorce Spain?

It’s a lower-cost and fast procedure to end a legally binding marriage in Spain.

How Long Does Divorce Take in Spain?

The length of time it takes to get a divorce will depend on whether you’re filing for divorce with or without mutual agreement and the judge’s decision when considering the evidence presented by both parties. Generally, the process can take anything from six months to a year and a half if no evidence is required. If evidence is required, it can take as long as three years to finalize a divorce.

Part of the reason for this length of time is that even though you have papers from your home country showing that you are divorced, Spanish authorities will not recognize a divorce unless a local judge has verified it in Spain.

Background and Divorce Law Changes in Spain

In 2015, Spain’s government approved family law reforms that include allowing either partner (male or female) the right to ask for a no-fault divorce. The 2015 reform, which came into force on July 7th, requires marital counseling before filing for divorce. The reforms applied to Spanish citizens or foreign nationals that are a resident in Spain when making their application.
Marriages that occur after the effective date of these changes will fall under the new rules. In contrast, existing marriages (those entered into before July 7th, 2015) will remain under the previous law.
The new rules on divorce in Spain came almost nine years after the country legalized same-sex marriage. By the end of 2010, Spain had become one of the countries with the most generous laws towards same-sex couples, with very little difference between what they were allowed to do compared to heterosexual marriages. You’ll use the same procedure when getting divorced in Spain, even if you’re currently in a same-sex marriage.

Why Do People Get Divorced in Spain?

An important difference between divorces in Spain and the United States is that, for the most part, spouses are not required to prove specific incidents of wrongdoing before being allowed to file for divorce. The only exception is when proving adultery at fault for the end of a marriage cannot be done without evidence or if one party denies it happened. You can read more about this here: Spanish adultery laws.

What Do I Need For My Divorce in Spain?

The first thing that you need before starting the divorce proceedings is to prove your eligibility. This will involve showing that you are married, born, or resident of another country. Either your spouse is also eligible for divorce or was a Spanish citizen when the marriage took place. You will also need to prove that there is no possibility of reconciliation and that you or your spouse does not wish to obtain any economic compensation (i.e., alimony).
If both parties agree on the divorce, you (and your spouse if they wishes) must attend counseling before filing for a divorce. You can find out more about this here: Spanish divorce counseling.
If there is no mutual consent, you will need to prove fault on the part of your spouse. This includes adultery, abandonment, or mistreatment of you or children/dependent family members regardless of gender

What about Alimony?

If you do not have sufficient means to provide for yourself during and after divorce, you can apply to the court for what used to be known as alimony or maintenance. This is no longer the case, and any compensation awarded during a divorce ruling not only compensates for the loss of earnings but also other factors such as loss of companionship, alienation of affection, and so on.

What If My Spouse Refuses To Divorce Me?

Spain does not recognize divorce by unilateral (without the other spouse’s agreement) divorce except in religious marriages. This means that if your spouse does not agree to the divorce, you cannot file for one without your partner’s agreement.
If you and your spouse do not live together, you can file for legal separation instead of divorce. You will need to provide evidence that the separation has been in place for at least one year or show reasons why this condition can’t be fulfilled within a reasonable timeframe.

How Soon Can I Get My Divorce in Spain?

In both divorce and legal separation proceedings, there is a one-year time limit from the date of filing to when a ruling can be made. In cases where one spouse can’t file for divorce or legal separation due to persecution or abduction by the other partner, this limit may be extended.

How to Find Divorce Attorney in Spain?

While it is possible to represent yourself in court proceedings, we recommend hiring a lawyer as the process and requirements can be very complicated, and mistakes can easily be made.
If you wish to find a divorce attorney in Spain, we recommend you follow these steps:

  1. Determine what type of divorce your case falls under – fault or no-fault and mutual consent or one-sided. You can consult our article on this topic here: Spanish divorce requirements
  2. Choose an area of law (i.e., family, labor, or criminal) on which you wish to focus your legal advice.
  3. Review the profiles of lawyers who match your criteria and contact them directly for a consultation.

While there are no special requirements when choosing a lawyer, we recommend you always work with an experienced lawyer in your area of interest to avoid any future misunderstandings.

What about Children during the Divorce Proceedings?

The children’s best interests are always at the center of proceedings, and both parents are obliged to agree on decisions made regarding them. If you have children together, the court will ask that you reach an agreement on custody before continuing with proceedings.
This means that during negotiations or mediation, you (and your spouse if they wishes) must attend counseling before filing for a divorce.
If there is no mutual agreement on joint custody and visitation arrangement, the court will make a ruling based on the child’s best interest.

What Are The Steps To Divorce In Spain?

  1. Determination of whether you are filing for divorce or legal separation
  2. Filing the required documentation, including the divorce petition, summons, and statement of claim to begin proceedings
  3. If a lawyer does not represent your spouse, they have 20 days to go over the documents and file for an extension
  4. Mediation, if you both wish to continue with mutual agreement proceedings that endeavor to find an out-of-court settlement
  5. Preparation of the ruling, including the questions, the parties’ data, and relevant documentation
  6. The ruling will be issued in 15 days if there are no disputes or 30 days if there are disagreements
  7. Getting a copy of the ruling and sending it to the Policy Department for Public Order so it can be recorded in the Register of Judgments where your marriage is registered
  8. Paying any outstanding fees as stated in the ruling, which you will receive at step 4 or 5 depending on whether mediation was successful
  9. Getting the ruling stamped by the court and filed in your local registrar of civil status
  10. If you or your spouse resides abroad, you will need to apply for a certificate of no impediment from the Spanish consulate since this is not an automatic outcome.

Spain Marriage Laws

In Spain, marriages must be solemnized legally by a person authorized to perform weddings. If you wish to get married in Spain, you will first have to file a joint statement declaring the purpose of your marriage and how it should be carried out before Wed. You can find more information on this topic here: Spain’s marriage requirements.
There are two types of marriages in Spain: legal marriage and religious marriage.
If you wish to get married at a Catholic church, the local bishop will authorize the wedding. If it is carried out by a priest or minister who is not recognized by law, it may be considered invalid, and you would need to register your marriage with the Civil Registry.
If you wish to get married in a civil ceremony, you will have to register your marriage with the Civil Registry before it takes place. The local registrar will give you the wedding certificate after performing the ceremony. Registering for a wedding with the Civil Registry is not necessary if you wish to marry in a religious ceremony.
If you or your partner is married before getting married to each other, you must first get divorced before having another wedding. This is to avoid bigamy due to laws prohibiting marriages between two people that already have an existing spouse or former fiancé (e).

Spain Adoption Laws

Adopting someone else’s child is possible in certain circumstances if they are related or have lived together for at least three years. You can find out here: Spanish adoption requirements.
The court will ask the parents to give their consent and consider their opinion before making a ruling. The adoptive parent must be at least 18 years of age. If not, an exception can be made if the adoptive parent is married to a person over 30 who agrees to adopt the child.
If you wish to become a stepparent, you must first divorce your current spouse before marrying another person. A stepchild cannot petition for adoption because this would be considered the same as biological children, who both parents must adopt for legal validity.

Spain Estate Laws

The laws governing inheritance in Spain are governed by which nationality you hold. If you are a citizen of an EU country, you will abide by its laws since that state is part of the European Union. If you are not, the laws of your home country will apply. The Spanish Civil Code determines how succession is divided when there are no living relatives or if all surviving relatives are equally related to the deceased.

Spain Sex Change Laws

If you wish to change your name and gender by law in Spain, you must first have sex reassignment surgery. Your rights are protected under the Spanish constitution, which prohibits discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation.

Spain Surrogacy Laws

Surrogacy is illegal in Spain, but court of first instance cases have challenged this ruling. If you wish to find more information about surrogacy in Spain for yourself or a surrogate mother, you can visit the official surrogacy website here: surrogacy in Spain.

Spain Alimony Laws

If you were separated or divorced in Spain, your former spouse might have to provide financial support for a certain period. This is decided on an individual basis depending on your ex-spouse’s income, economic situation, and whether or not there are children involved. Alimony is set at the judge’s discretion and will last for between 1 month and three years.

Spain Child Support Laws

Would you like to know how much does a divorce cost in Spain Child support in Spain is calculated depending on how much money the non-custodial parent earns. It is paid until the child reaches adulthood or turns 25 if they continue pursuing educational studies. The Spanish Child Support Agency calculates the alimony amounts and sends them to the non-custodial parent.

Spain Maintenance Laws

Maintenance is awarded to people that are legally separated. However, this may require you to prove that your economic situation makes it difficult for you to take care of yourself without any help. This amount is decided on a case-by-case basis and is paid until either party dies or the person receiving maintenance remarries or starts cohabiting with someone.

Spain Child Custody Laws

The parent granted custody of a child is entitled to make all decisions related to their upbringing. The other parent cannot interfere without the Court’s permission. These custody arrangements lasts while the child is a minor. If both parents are awarded custody, they can decide who will have primary custody and who will have the right to visitation.

Spain Marriage Age Laws

You must be 18 years of age to marry without parental consent in Spain. If you are under 18 years old, you must have the permission of your legal guardian. This person will be listed on your marriage certificate.

Spain Gay Marriage Laws

Since 2005, same-sex marriages have been legally recognized in Spain. A 2013 ruling stated that not allowing homosexual couples to marry was unconstitutional. However, if you are married in another country, your union may or may not be recognized in Spain.

Spain Citizenship by Marriage Laws

If you are a foreign national married to a Spanish citizen, you may be able to gain Spanish citizenship. You must have been married for at least two years, and your spouse must be able to prove they can support you. You will also need to show that you were not involved in any crimes that have resulted in a prison sentence.

Can My Spouse Force Me To Get Divorced?

No. There is no such thing as a “fault divorce “in Spain. You can only file for divorce if your spouse has been unfaithful or abandoned you, and this must be proven. To learn more about Spousal Support in Spain, please visit spousal support in Spain.
I’m Still Married, But Living Apart – Am I Still Legally Married?
No. As long as there has been no action to dissolve the marriage (such as a divorce), you are still considered married. To find out more about divorce in Spain, please visit divorce in Spain- what you need to know.

How Does Alimony Work in Spain?

The amount of financial support is decided on a case-by-case basis. It takes into account the income level of the spouse paying alimony and their economic situation. If you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on an amount, a judge will set it. To learn more about Spousal Support in Spain, please visit spousal support in Spain.

Can I Lower or End My Alimony Payments if I Lose My Job?

If you are receiving alimony, your payments cannot be lowered unless the court decides it is appropriate. The only exception to this rule will be if you have lost your job through absolutely no fault of your own. For example, this could be the case if you were laid off due to financial difficulties at your company.

Will Alimony Payments Stop If I Remarry?

If you are receiving alimony payments, they will stop once you remarry. You must prove that your new marriage is valid for this to happen. Getting married often does not count; you must be married to the same person.

Will Alimony Payments Stop if I Move In With Someone?

No. If you are receiving alimony payments, they will not stop even if your new partner moves in with you. This is because moving in with someone does not invalidate your marriage. The only way that alimony payments can stop is if you and your ex-spouse agree to the arrangement.

How Long Must I Pay Alimony?

Alimony payments must be made until a judge terminates them. If you get divorced, the period during which alimony is paid before that divorce will not count. You will then have to pay alimony until you are legally divorced.

Why You Need Divorce Lawyers in Spain

If you plan to divorce your spouse, you must hire a qualified attorney. Without one, there is no way to prove any required information in court, which could negatively impact your case. It’s always best to get legal advice before filing for divorce to avoid these kinds of dilemmas. To learn more about divorce in Spain, please visit divorce in Spain- what you need to know.

Who is responsible for the mortgage and household bills after a divorce?

If you and your spouse both contributed to bills, you can ask the judge to divide the responsibility of those debts between you. Keep in mind that not all of them will be divided equally; some may stay with one spouse, depending on what assets each person has.

If one spouse owns a house after getting divorced, can the other life there?
Yes. If the house is only in the name of one spouse, you could ask to continue living there if it is necessary for you. After all, two incomes are not often enough to pay for a home. You will need to convince the judge that.

Is It Hard To Get a Divorce Spain?

The process of getting a divorce in Spain is not complicated, and you can get one if the marriage has lasted less than four years.

Will I Lose My Spouse’s Inheritance If We Get Divorced?

No. You cannot lose your spouse’s inheritance even if you get divorced. The only way this could happen is by written agreement before the marriage. To learn more about divorce in Spain, please visit divorce in Spain- what you need to know.

How Do You Calculate The Financial Support Payment?

The financial support payment is calculated based on several factors, including household income and expenses during your marriage. If a judge determines that a change in circumstances has occurred, the payment may increase or decrease.

What If My Spouse Does Not Want To Pay Child Support?

If your spouse refuses to pay the child support required by law, you can take them to court and ask a judge for help. You will need to provide evidence of how much they earn and their expenses. Even if they do not work, you can still get child support from them.

Will Child Support Stop If I Remarry?

No. The financial obligation for your children will continue after remarrying, even if you move in with someone else. This is because moving in with someone does not invalidate your marriage. Once a judge has ordered a parent to pay support, they must continue until a judge re-evaluates the case.

Can I Get custody of children if My Spouse Dies?

If your spouse has passed away but you are still having trouble caring for your children, ask them to nominate you as their child’s legal guardian. If it is accepted that the death occurred due to an accident, you could claim child support.

Do You Get Alimony If You Are Unemployed?

You will not receive alimony if you are unemployed. However, the court may provide for alimony to be paid in installments, depending on your timetable for obtaining employment. If you need help finding work after getting divorced, please visit job search Spain.

How Long Does the Process of Getting Divorced Take?

The time frame for getting divorced varies depending on the court. If you are only waiting to be summoned, it could take less than six months. If there needs to be a trial, it may take longer. However, remember that the process will also vary depending on your lawyer.

Do you have a legal problem in Spain?

Our law firm is dedicated to helping English-speaking clients with their Spanish legal problems. We have the experience and expertise necessary to get the job done right, and we’re always here to answer any questions you may have.

You can trust us to handle your case with the utmost care and discretion. We know how important it is for our clients to get the best possible outcome, and we’re committed to providing top-quality legal services at an affordable price.
Don’t hesitate to take a look at our English language site, where you’ll find a whole range of helpful resources. If you don’t see it on the site, please get in touch, and we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have.

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Our law firm has over 20 years of experience in the private practice of law, and our lawyers are here for you 24 hours a day. Whether you’re looking to buy a property or rent an apartment, need help with your residency or citizenship application, want to establish a company or foundation, have any legal question at all, need a will written or a contract drawn up, we’re here for you.

Contact us today and get a qualified Spanish lawyer working on your case tomorrow.

MySpainVisa is a law firm based in Marbella, Costa del Sol (Spain), that offers legal services to expats living in Spain and foreigners just passing through. Our legal practice is exclusively dedicated to expat clients, so you can ensure that our lawyers have the necessary experience to deal with your problems efficiently and cost-effectively without compromising quality.

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  • We Can Help You with Your Divorce in Spain

We are international family lawyers. Thus, if you are thinking about getting a divorce in Spain, look no further. Our law firm offers quick, efficient, and cost-effective services to non-resident individuals requiring help with their divorce.
Our expertise extends to dealing with divorces involving international elements such as the division of assets or overseas pension rights, where English-speaking support can make all the difference.

Our international divorce lawyers services cover the whole of Spain, from Barcelona to San Sebastián and Palma de Mallorca to Alicante. And with a 30-minute consultation included with every service, you can be sure that your case is in good hands from day one. Contact us today for a free quote on our marriage dissolution services or more information.

Do you need a divorce lawyer in Spain?

Our law firm specializes in providing legal services to expat clients. We’re based right here on the Costa del Sol, and we can meet face to face with you anywhere in Spain, from Madrid to Barcelona or Alicante.

Do you want to know How long does it take to get a divorce Spain?

We can even help you if you face difficult times as part of the bankruptcy process. Our lawyers are here for you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide the assistance you need when you most need it.

Spain is a safe, modern country with a world-class health care system and stringent laws against drug use and smuggling. However, the Spanish legal system differs from British law in many ways, so even if you have been arrested for something completely innocent, there is no guarantee that things will work out in your favor.

With practical legal tools at their disposal, police officers will often treat expats without any consideration or respect for how they are treated in their own country. Even minor offenses can lead to custody if you don’t understand how things work in Spain, where the law is concerned.

If you want to protect your rights and your image, you need an experienced legal team on your side. We can offer a fast and efficient service that will inform you of every step in the process and represent you in court to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

A Spanish criminal lawyer may be able to help you avoid fines or even imprisonment, depending on your particular circumstances. You can have a chat with one of our friendly team members today for a free consultation.
If you need an experienced lawyer in Seville for immigration advice, our firm can help. Our expat legal team offers you a free consultation so contact us today.

Divorcing your wife is never easy, but it becomes even more difficult when you have to go through the process overseas. Not only do you need to deal with all of the legal implications, but you also have to deal with the emotional consequences.

Our contested divorce specialists are based on the Costa del Sol and are happy to meet face-to-face with you anywhere in Spain, including Málaga. Our lawyers know exactly what needs to be done to protect your rights during this complicated process.

Why choose us for your Divorce in Spain for foreigners?

We are a Spanish law firm with more than 10 years of experience. We are specialists in immigration and real estate. We respond in less than 3 hours to all your questions or we schedule a call to resolve all the doubts of the client.

We are experts in obtaining Divorce in Spain for foreigners so many clients speak well of us on the internet. If you need help with Divorce in Spain for foreigners, contact us!

4 thoughts on “Divorce in Spain for foreigners

  1. Dominick Brack |

    Getting a divorce in Spain

    1. My Spain Visa |

      We can help you through the whole process of getting divorced in Spain, whether it is an international or national divorce. You can send us a contact form and we will assist you.

  2. Tracey |

    I need help to get a divorce… my husband and i have properties in uk and spain and right now we have the residence in spain…. I want to keep my children who are minors… can you help me? It is urgent!

    1. Anna |


      One of our lawyers will contact you to answer your questions about divorce in spain .


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