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SPANISH CIVIL CODE: On Family Law (Excerpts)

Book

I:

Persons;

Title

IV:

Marriage;

Article

Chapter

VII:

Separation
81

Separation shall be judicially decreed, regardless of the form in which the marriage was
contracted:
(1) At the petition of both spouses, or of one of them with the others consent, at the expiration of
one year after the marriage was contracted. The petition for separation must be accompanied by a
proposal for a regulatory agreement to govern the separation in accordance with Articles 90 and
103 of this Code.
(2) At the petition of one of the spouses, when the other has incurred a legal ground for
separation.
Article

82

The following are grounds for separation:


(1) The unjustified abandonment of the family home, marital infidelity, abusive or offensive
conduct and any other serious or reiterated infringement of conjugal obligations.
Marital infidelity cannot be alleged as a ground for separation when there exists a prior
separation in fact of the spouses, by mutual consent freely given, or imposed by the spouse
alleging it.
(2) Any serious or reiterated infringement of the obligations regarding the common children or
regarding those of any of the spouses who reside in the family home.
(3) Sentence to imprisonment for longer than six years.

(4) Alcoholism, drug addiction, or mental abnormalities, provided that the interests of the other
spouse, or of the family, require the spouses to discontinue living together.
(5) The effective cessation of marital life in common for a period of six months by free consent.
Such consent shall be understood to be freely given where a spouse requests it from the other
spouse in authentic form, giving him or her express notice of the consequences of doing so, and
the other spouse fails to manifest his or her will against it by any legally permissible means, or
petitions a separation or the provisional measures to which Article 103 refers, within six months
of the required summons.

(6) The effective cessation of marital life in common for a period of three years.

(7) Any of the grounds for divorce in the terms provided by numbers 3, 4 and 5 of Article 86.
Article

83

A decree of separation suspends the spouses' life in common, and terminates the possibility of
binding the assets of the other spouse in the exercise of domestic prerogative (potestad
domstica).
Article

84

Reconciliation puts an end to the separation proceedings and leaves what may have been decided
therein without further effect. The parties must, however, notify the court of the reconciliation
before
which
the
proceedings
are
or
have
been
held.
The above notwithstanding, the measures taken in relation to the children shall be maintained or
modified by judicial resolution whenever there exists just cause therefor.
Chapter

VIII:

Dissolution

of

Article

Marriage
85

Marriage is dissolved by the death or declaration of death of one of the spouses, and by divorce,
regardless
of
the
manner
and
time
in
which
it
was
contracted.
Article

86

Grounds for divorce are:


(1) The effective cessation of marital life for, at least, one uninterrupted year from the time of the
filing of the petition for separation, filed either by both spouses or at least by one of them with
the consent of the other one when at least one year since the celebration of marriage has elapsed.
(2) The effective cessation of marital life for, at least, one uninterrupted year from the time of the
filing of the petition for personal separation, at the request of the petitioner or of one who filed a
reconventional claim pursuant to Article 82, once the judgment of separation becomes final, or
where, the expressed term having expired, there should be no judgment at trial level.
(3) The effective cessation of marital life for, at least, two uninterrupted years:

(a) From the time the de facto separation is freely consented by both spouses, or the time the
judicial decree becomes final, or from the time of the declaration of the legal absence of any of
the spouses at the request of either of them.
(b) When the petitioner of divorce proves that when the de facto separation began the respondent
had incurred a ground for legal separation.
(4) The effective cessation of marital life for at least five years at the petition of either of the
spouses.
(5) A final judgment finding the other spouse guilty of attempting against the life of the
petitioning spouse or of his or her ascendants or descendants.
When the divorce is petitioned by both spouses, or by one of them with the other's consent, a
proposal for a regulating agreement for the effects thereof, in accordance with Articles 90 and
103 of this Code, must be attached to the petition or to the first pleading filed in the proceedings.
Article

87

The effective cessation of marital life to which Articles 82 and 86 of this Code make reference is
compatible with the continuation, or the temporary resumption of life in the same domicile, when
this results, with regard to one or both of the spouses, from necessity, an intent to reconcile, or is
in the interest of the children and is duly shown to be so in any legally admissible manner in the
corresponding
separation
or
divorce
proceedings.
The interruption of life in common shall not imply the effective cessation of marital life if it is
grounded on labor or professional reasons, or on whatever reasons of similar nature.
Article

88

The action for divorce is terminated by the death of any of the spouses and by their
reconciliation. Reconciliation must be express when it takes place after the filing of the demand.
Reconciliation after divorce does not produce legal effects, although the divorced parties may
contract
a
new
marriage
between
each
other.
Article

89

Dissolution of marriage by divorce can only take place by means of a decree of divorce so
declaring and shall produce effects from the time this decree becomes final. It shall not prejudice
third parties in good faith until it is recorded in the Civil Registry.
Chapter
Article

IX:

Effects

Common

to

Nullity,

Separation,

and

Divorce
90

The regulating agreement to which Articles 81 and 86 of this Code make reference must deal
with, at least, the following subjects:

(1) The determination of the person in whose custody the children under parental authority of
both spouses are to remain; the exercise of parental authority; and the regime of visitations,
communications, and childrens periods of stay with the parent who does not live with them.
(2) The use of the family dwelling and furnishings.
(3) Contributions to the expenses of marriage and support obligations, as well as the basis for
updating them and guarantees, when appropriate.
(4) The liquidation of the matrimonial property regime, when appropriate.
(5) Maintenance which, pursuant to Article 97, must eventually be discharged by one of the
spouses.
Matrimonial agreements, entered into for the purpose of regulating the consequences of nullity,
separation, or divorce, shall be approved by the court, unless they should be detrimental to the
children or seriously damaging to one of the spouses. The rejection must be made by reasoned
opinion, and, in such a case, the spouses must submit a new proposal to the consideration of the
court for approval, where appropriate. From the moment it receives court approval, the
agreement may be enforced by compulsory executory process (va de apremio).
The measures adopted by the court in the absence of agreement, as well as those agreed upon by
the spouses, may be modified judicially or by a new agreement when there is a substantial
change
in
the
circumstances.
The court may establish the real or personal guarantees that the performance of the agreement
may
require.
Article

97

The spouse to whom the separation or divorce produces an economic imbalance in relation to the
position of the other, which involves a worsening of the situation he or she had during the
marriage, has a right to maintenance which shall be fixed in the judicial decree, taking into
account, among other, the following circumstances:
(1) The agreements that the spouses may have reached.
(2)

Their

age

and

state

(3) Professional qualifications and the probabilities of gaining employment.

(4) Past and future dedication to the family.

of

health.

(5) Collaboration, by his or her own labor, with the commercial, industrial, or professional
activities of the other spouse.

(6) The duration of the marriage and their marital life.

(7) The eventual loss of a right to a pension.


(8) The wealth and economic means and necessities of both spouses.
The judicial decree shall establish the bases for updating the award of maintenance, and the
guarantees
for
its
effectiveness.
Article

98

The spouse in good faith whose marriage has been declared null shall have a right to an
indemnification award, if there has been marital life, taking into account the circumstances
provided
by
Article
97.
Article

99

The substitution of an annuity, the usufruct of certain property, or the delivery of capital in assets
other than in money, instead of the judicially fixed award pursuant to Article 97, may be agreed
upon
at
any
time.
Article
100
After maintenance and the bases for updating it are fixed in the judgment on separation or
divorce, the award may only be modified when there are substantial alterations in the economic
capability
of
either
spouse.
Article

101

The right to receive maintenance terminates on the cessation of the cause that gave raise to it, by
the subsequent marriage of the spouse entitled to it or by his or her marital cohabitation with
another
person.
The right to receive maintenance does not end on the death of the person who is obliged to make
this payment. Nevertheless, the debtors heirs may request the reduction or suppression of the
award from the court if the hereditary assets were insufficient to discharge the debt or if their
right to the legitimate portion would be affected.

CATALAN

FAMILY

CODE

1998

(CF)

Title II: Matrimonial property regimes; Chapter I: The separation matrimonial property
regime
and
purchases
with
covenant
of
survival
Article 41. Economic compensation on the grounds of work
(1) In cases of judicial separation, divorce or marriage annulment, the spouse who has worked
for the household or for the other spouse without receiving any payment in exchange or who has
received insufficient payment, shall be entitled to receive economic compensation from the other
spouse, in the event that this fact has produced a situation of inequality between the two
patrimonies, which implies an unfair enrichment.
(2) The compensation shall be paid in money, unless otherwise agreed by the parties or if the
judicial authority, on grounds of a justified cause, authorizes that the payment be made with
assets belonging to the obliged spouse. The payment shall be made within a maximum period of
three years, together with the accrued interests calculated at the legal rate, from the
acknowledgement. In this case, the constitution of guarantees in favor of the creditor spouse may
be judicially decreed.
(3) This right is compatible with any other economic rights to which the favored spouse may be
entitled, but shall be taken into consideration for the assessment of these other rights.
Title III: The effects of the annulment of marriage, divorce and judicial separation
Article 76. Aspects that are the object of regulation
(1) In cases of nullity of marriage, divorce or judicial separation, if there are children under the
parental authority, the following must be dealt with:

(A) The parent with whom the children shall have to live together and also, if this applies, the
rights of access, the periods of stay and communication with the father or mother with whom
such children do not live.
(B) The way in which the custody of the children has to be exercised, in the terms established in
Article
139.
(C) The sum that has to be paid for childrens support, in accordance with Article 143, by the
father or mother, and the periodicity and means of payment.
(D) The rules for the updating of the support payments and, eventually, of the guarantees to
ensure them.

(2) If there are children of age or emancipated who live with one of the parents and have no
earnings of their own, it shall be necessary to establish the support that corresponds to them
under the terms established in Article 259.
(3) The remaining aspects that, according to the circumstances of the case, will need to be dealt
with are the following:
(A) The attribution of the use of the family dwelling, with the appropriate household equipment
and, eventually, the use of the other residences.
(B) Any maintenance allowance or support payment that, if any, shall be made by one of the
spouses in favor of the other spouse.
(C) The manner, if any, in which the spouses continue to contribute to family expenses.
(D) The rules for updating support and maintenance payments and, if necessary, the guarantees
to ensure their payment.

(E) The liquidation, if necessary, of the matrimonial property regime and the division of common
assets and properties, in accordance with what is established in Article 43.
Article 77. Regulating agreement
Whenever marriage nullity, divorce or legal separation is petitioned by both spouses acting in
common agreement, or by one of the spouses with the other spouse's consent, a proposal for a
regulating
agreement
shall
be
attached
to
the
claim
or
initial
writ.
In such a regulating agreement, the aspects indicated in Article 76 shall be dealt with.
Article 78. Judicial approval
(1) The regulating agreement mentioned in Article 77 shall necessarily be judicially approved,
except in those aspects that may be harmful to the children. In such cases, the judicial authority
shall indicate the points that need to be modified and shall establish the period for carrying out
these modifications.

(2) Should the spouses fail to execute the requested modifications, or if these cannot be approved
on the same grounds as those mentioned in paragraph 1), the judge will decide as appropriate.
Article 79. Absence of regulating agreement
(1) In cases of marriage annulment, divorce or judicial separation requested by one of the
spouses without the consent of the other spouse, the judicial authority shall resolve on the aspects
mentioned in Article 76 directly.

(2) If, further to considering the circumstances of the case, the judicial authority deems that the
aspects cited in Article 76 can still be resolved by common agreement, such judicial authority
may refer the spouses to a mediator or to a mediation institution so that the spouses may resolve
their differences, and so that the mediator or mediation institution then submits a proposal of
regulating agreement to which, if necessary, the provisions contained in Article 78 shall apply.
Article 80. Modification
(1) The measures established by the courts decision may be modified when subsequent
circumstances so require. Such a modification shall be made by means of a judicial decree.
(2) The regulating agreement or the sentence may foresee the relevant modifications in advance.
Article

81.

Court

order

The payments established by the sentence may be collected by means of a compulsory court
order.
Article 84. Maintenance
(1) In cases where one of the spouses financial situation has been impaired as a result of the
divorce or legal separation and, in the cases of nullity of marriage, the bona fide spouse only,
shall be entitled to receive maintenance from the other spouse. Maintenance shall not exceed the
standard of living that the couple led during the marriage, nor the standard of living the spouse
obliged to make the payment can afford to maintain.
(2) In order to assess the maintenance awards, the judicial authority shall take the following into
consideration:

(A) The resulting financial situation of the spouses as a consequence of the nullity of marriage,
the divorce or the legal separation, and the economic prospects for both spouses.
(B) The duration of the marital life in common.
(C) The age and health of both spouses.
(D) In cases where it applies, the specific economic compensation governed by Article 41.

(E) Any other significant circumstance.


(3) Maintenance shall be reduced if the situation of the person who is entitled to receive such an
award improves, or if the situation of the person obliged to pay it worsens.

(4) Upon request of one of the parties, the decision may establish the relevant measures in order
to ensure the payment of the award and may also establish objective and automatic criteria for
updating.
Article 85. Payment of maintenance
(1) Maintenance shall be paid in money and in advance monthly payments.
(2) At any time, by agreement of the spouses or, lacking this, by judicial decree, the spouse
obliged to pay maintenance may substitute this by delivery of assets in ownership or usufruct.
Article 86. Termination of maintenance
(1) The entitlement to receive maintenance shall terminate in the following cases:
(A) When the financial situation of the creditor spouse improves in such way that maintenance is
no longer justified, or when the financial situation of the spouse who is obliged to pay it worsens
in such way that the payment is no longer justified.
(B) When the spouse entitled to maintenance remarries or cohabits matrimonially with another
person.
(C) When the spouse entitled to maintenance dies or is declared dead.
(D) When the period for which the payment of maintenance was established has elapsed.
(2) Maintenance shall not terminate with the death of the debtor, although his or her heirs
may claim a reduction or the exoneration thereof, if the profitability of the inherited assets
is not sufficient to pay maintenance.
Divorce is legally established in Spain since 1981. It is possible to obtain a divorce in
Spain on various grounds. Foreigners married in other countries can obtain a divorce
in Spain if one of the parties is Spanish resident.

Divorce has been legal in Spain since shortly after the country became a democracy, but that
doesnt mean it ever became an easy path for a troubled marriage to take. In fact, even today,
divorce is so expensive and such a legal hassle, that there are still unhappy couples who continue
to co-exist under the same roof even though they would rather separate. This, however, is about
to change.
The socialist government has approved a new divorce law that is now working its way through
government chanels and, certainly causing quite a stir in the Spanish catholic church. The
original, divorce law, in fact, catered to the wishes of a post-franco era church that demanded
divorce be kept as difficult to obtain as possible.

Until summer 2005, divorce in Spain will continue to be a drawn out process that requires two
separate legal proceedings, one to separate and that takes at least a year, and another to actually
divorce, and that takes another year. Many are the divorcees that complain about the double set
of legal fees involved. In addition, in order to obtain a divorce, one of those involved must be
proven to be the guilty party to somehow have failed the marriage, or to have left the home for
a period of at least 6 months.
The new divorce law begins by wiping out the double legal process, thus making is possible for
couples to head straight for divorce court. A legal separation is still possible, but only to those
who wish to take that intermediary route for some reason. As long as both partners agree to the
separation, and have been married for at least 3 months, they can obtain their divorce in just two
months. If one of the partners does not agree to the divorce, then the divorce still must be granted
under the new law but it will take up to six months.
Unlike the previous divorce law, the new law will not require any a couple to give any
justification whatsoever in order to obtain the divorce. And this, according to many Spaniards, is
one of the most attractive features of the new law.

Spanish society after the democratic


transition
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
After the restoration of democracy in the late 1970s, the changes in everyday Spanish life were
as radical as the political transformation. They are famously known as La Movida (The
Movement). These changes were even more striking when contrasted with the values and social
practices that had prevailed in Spanish society during the Francoist regime, especially during the
1940s and the early 1950s. In essence, Spanish social values and attitudes were modernized at
the same pace, and to the same degree, as the country's class structure, economic institutions, and
political framework.[1]
Under the rule of Francisco Franco, dominant Spanish social values were strongly conservative.
Both public laws and church regulations enforced a set of social structures aimed at preserving
the traditional role of the family, distant and formal relations between the sexes, and controls
over expression in the press, film, and the mass media, as well as over many other important
social institutions. By the 1960s, however, social values were changing faster than the law,
inevitably creating tension between legal codes and reality. Even the church had begun to move
away from its more conservative positions by the latter part of the decade. The government
responded haltingly to these changes with some new cabinet appointments and with somewhat
softer restrictions on the media. Yet underneath these superficial changes, Spanish society was
experiencing wrenching changes as its people came increasingly into contact with the outside
world. To some extent, these changes were due to the rural exodus that had uprooted hundreds of

thousands of Spaniards and had brought them into new urban social settings. In the 1960s and
the early 1970s, however, two other contacts were also important: the flow of European tourists
to "sunny Spain" and the migration of Spain's workers to jobs in France, Switzerland, and West
Germany.[1]

Contents

1 Contraception and abortion

2 The role of women

3 Sociopolitical and religious views

4 Notes

5 References

6 See also

Contraception and abortion


During the Franco years, the ban on the sale of contraceptives was complete, at least in theory,
even though the introduction of the combined oral contraceptive pill had brought contraception
to at least half a million Spanish women by 1975. The ban on the sale of contraceptives was
lifted in 1978, but no steps were taken to ensure that they were used safely or effectively. Schools
offered no sex education courses, and family planning centers existed only where local
authorities were willing to pay for them. The consequence of a loosening of sexual restraints,
combined with a high level of ignorance about the technology that could be substituted in their
place, was a rise in the number of unwanted pregnancies, which led to the second policy
problem: abortion.[1]
Illegal abortions were fairly commonplace in Spain even under the dictatorship. A 1974
government report estimated that there were about 300,000 such abortions each year.
Subsequently, the number rose to about 350,000 annually, which gave Spain one of the highest
ratios of abortions to live births among advanced industrial countries. Abortion continued to be
illegal in Spain until 1985, three years after the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (Partido
Socialista Obrero Espaol or PSOE) came to power on an electoral platform that promised a
change. Even so, the law legalized abortions only in certain cases. In the Organic Law 9/1985,
adopted on July 5, 1985, induced abortion was legalized in three cases: serious risk to physical or
mental health of the pregnant woman, rape and malformations or defects, physical or mental, in
the fetus.[2] Eventually, abortion laws were further liberalized in 2010, to allow abortion on
demand during the first trimester.(see Abortion in Spain).

The role of women

Perhaps the most significant change in Spanish social values, however, was the role of women in
society, which, in turn, was related to the nature of the family. Spanish society, for centuries, had
embraced a code of moral values that established stringent standards of sexual conduct for
women (but not for men); restricted the opportunities for professional careers for women, but
honored their role as wives and (most important) mothers; and prohibited divorce, contraception,
and abortion, but permitted prostitution.[1]
After the return of democracy, the change in the status of women was dramatic. One significant
indicator was the changing place of women in the work force. In the traditional Spanish world,
women rarely entered the job market. By the late 1970s, however, 22 percent of the country's
adult women, still somewhat fewer than in Italy and in Ireland, had entered the work force. By
1984 this figure had increased to 33 percent, a level not significantly different from Italy or the
Netherlands. Women still made up less than one-third of the total labor force, however, and in
some important sectors, such as banking, the figure was closer to one-tenth. A 1977 opinion poll
revealed that when asked whether a woman's place was in the home only 22 percent of young
people in Spain agreed, compared with 26 percent in Britain, 30 percent in Italy, and 37 percent
in France. The principal barrier to women in the work place, however, was not public opinion,
but rather such factors as a high unemployment rate and a lack of part-time jobs. In education,
women were rapidly achieving parity with men, at least statistically. In 1983, approximately 46
percent of Spain's university enrollment was female, the thirty-first highest percentage in the
world, and comparable to most other European countries.[1]
During Franco's years, Spanish law discriminated strongly against married women. Without her
husband's approval, referred to as the permiso marital, a wife was prohibited from almost all
economic activities, including employment, ownership of property, or even travel away from
home. The law also provided for less stringent definitions of such crimes as adultery and
desertion for husbands than it did for wives. Significant reforms of this system were begun
shortly before Franco's death, and they have continued at a rapid pace since then. The permiso
marital was abolished in 1975; laws against adultery were cancelled in 1978; and divorce was
legalized in 1981. During the same year, the parts of the civil code that dealt with family finances
were also reformed.[1]
During the Franco years, marriages had to be canonical (that is, performed under Roman
Catholic law and regulations) if even one of the partners was Catholic, which meant effectively
that all marriages in Spain had to be sanctioned by the church. Since the church prohibited
divorce, a marriage could be dissolved only through the arduous procedure of annulment, which
was available only after a lengthy series of administrative steps and was thus accessible only to
the relatively wealthy. These restrictions were probably one of the major reasons for a 1975
survey result showing that 71 percent of Spaniards favored legalizing divorce; however, because
the government remained in the hands of conservatives until 1982, progress toward a divorce law
was slow and full of conflict. In the summer of 1981, the Congress of Deputies (lower chamber
of the Cortes Generales, or Spanish Parliament) finally approved a divorce law with the votes of
about thirty Union of the Democratic Center (Union de Centro Democratico or UCD) deputies
who defied the instructions of party conservatives. As a consequence, Spain had a divorce law
that permitted the termination of a marriage in as little as two years following the legal
separation of the partners. Still, it would be an exaggeration to say that the new divorce law

opened a floodgate for the termination of marriages. Between the time the law went into effect at
the beginning of September 1981, and the end of 1984, only slightly more than 69,000 couples
had availed themselves of the option of ending their marriages, and the number declined in both
1983 and 1984. There were already more divorced people than this in Spain in 1981 before the
law took effect.[1]
Despite these important gains, observers expected that the gaining of equal rights for women
would be a lengthy struggle, waged on many different fronts. It was not until deciding a 1987
case, for example, that Spain's Supreme Court held that a rape victim need not prove that she had
fought to defend herself in order to verify the truth of her allegation. Until that important court
case, it was generally accepted that a female rape victim, unlike the victims of other crimes, had
to show that she had put up "heroic resistance" in order to prove that she had not enticed the
rapist or otherwise encouraged him to attack her.[1]
In recent years, the role of women has largely increased in Spain, especially in politics but also in
the labor market and other public areas. New laws have officially eliminated all kinds of
discrimination, and are even perceived by some as positive discrimination, but a Conservative
part of the society is still ingrained in the macho culture. Anyway, Spanish women are quickly
approaching their European counterparts, and the younger generations perceive machismo as
outdated.[3][4][5]
Currently, Spain has one of the lowest birth and fertility rates in the world,[6] up to the point of
heavily hampering the population replacement rates. One or two children families are pretty
common, and the age of parents has been increasing. Only immigration can balance such a
situation, simultaneously incorporating new values and lifestyles in the Spanish society.

Sociopolitical and religious views

Evolution of popular vote in the Spanish General Elections from the democratic transition until
2008. Voter turnout is usually high.
After 39 years of Theoconservative National-Catholic Francoism, Spanish society as a whole has
consistently showed a secular, left-leaning trend. Through 30 years of liberal democracy, the
socialdemocratic Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE) has been 22 years in office, although
the liberal-conservative People's Party (PP) has since then steadily grown and has recently
governed for eight years. Large regions as Andalusia or Extremadura have had PSOE regional
governments since democracy was re-established in the country. Ecosocialist-Eurocommunist

United Left has traditionally been the distant fourth political force in Spain, and recently has
further lost some of its presence and representation. The Patriotic feeling is not generalized as a
result of the overexploitation of national symbols and references by the Francoist regime.
Nationalisms and regionalisms are strong in spite of the high decentralization of the Spanish
state, especially in Catalonia and the Basque country.
While Roman Catholicism is still the largest nominal religion in Spain, most Spaniards
-especially the younger choose to ignore the Catholic teachings in morals, politics or sexuality,
and don't attend Mass regularly.[7][8] Agnosticism and atheism enjoy social prestige, accordingly
to the general Western European secularization.[7][9] Other religions like Christian Protestantism
or Islam are on the rise, but only linked to the increase of immigrant population and the large
acceptance of Evangelism among the Romani people, not the rank-and-file Spaniard.[10][11][12][13]
Culture wars are far more related to politics than religion, and the huge lack of popularity of
typically religion-related issues like creationism prevent them from being used in such conflicts.
Revivalist efforts by the Roman Catholic Church and other creeds have not had any significant
success out of their previous sphere of influence.[8][10]
According to the Eurobarometer 69 (2008), only 3% of Spaniards consider religion as one of
their three most important values, while the European mean is 7%.[14]

In the unfortunate event that you need to file


a divorce in Spain, here's a guide to divorce
procedures in Spain.
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.
The divorce rate in Spain places it among the mid-range of European countries. Divorce is actually a relatively
recent phenomenon in Spain and was only introduced to the country in 1981. Since then figures have shown a steady
increase in the incidence of divorce. In 1990 nine years after it was made legal, the divorce rate was 0.6 divorces per
1,000 inhabitants. This increased to 0.9 divorces per 1,000 people in 2000 and rose substantially to 2.2 divorces per
1,000 people in 2010. This is set against an average of 2.0 for the 27-member EU.
Getting a divorce in Spain
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, Separcin 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.
How to get a divorce in Spain
You may get divorced in Spain only 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 shall present the governing convention (convenio regulador). This is the contract of
agreement covering the following issues:

Cohabitation and custody arrangements for any children, including visitation rights of
the non-custodial parent.

The sum that has to be paid for children's alimony.

Any compensation allowance or alimony that, if any, shall be made by one of the
spouses in favour of the other spouse.

Use of the family dwelling.

The manner, if any, in which the spouses continue to contribute to family expenses.

The marriage certificate and the birth certificates of the children are always required, as is the intervention of a legal
representative (Procurador) and a Spanish lawyer.
The power to grant a divorce rests with the judge, who also has the authority to approve the governing convention.
Assuming there are no unforeseen issues, an uncontested divorce can be concluded within a few weeks.
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.
Depending on the circumstances, before starting the divorce procedure, provisional measures may be set up in order
to make property settlement, child custody, spousal support and alimony arrangements.
The marriage certificate and the birth certificates of the children are always required, as is the intervention of a legal
representative (Procurador) and a Spanish lawyer.
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.

2 comments on this article

20th May 2014, 15:56:29 wayne posted:

i have been divorced from a spanish girl for a few years now after 8 years of
marriage and thought i had all the documents proving that i was divorced, as
i am getting remarried this year i had them all translated into english so that
there wouldn't be a problem. had them all sent away by the registry office but
have just been told that only for spanish divorces there is an extra thing that
is needed, the registrar didn't know exactly what it is so i'm a bit stuck, has
anyone else had a similar problem.
plesae help

2nd October 2014, 17:22:31 Lynne Cottam posted:


i would like to know,if Spanish lawyers can work for husband and wife who
are seperated. I now live back in England,and my husband is still in Spain. He
is selling our house,and using the lawyer I wanted.
He is very trustworthy,so I would like to use him also. Help please