Family Law

Specializing in divorce and
child custody

Contemplating Divorce Proceedings In Spain?

Abogados Legal Madrid international department is highly recognized for the work that we do for our clients based outside of the UK.

We work with a worldwide network of lawyers in Spain and other jurisdictions in order to provide complete peace of mind for our clients.

If you are contemplating filing for a divorce in Spain, or if you have received a letter from your spouse or their Spanish lawyer: don’t panic! Take a deep breath and consider the following:

All of the facts in your particular case are unique, so it’s important that you don’t waste any time.

Get in touch with our experienced team of international divorce lawyers today, whose expertise and knowledge of both the Spanish and UK family law systems can guide you through the implications of divorcing in either jurisdiction. If you have already been served with your spouse’s Child Abduction Application, contact us to discuss your options. Don’t waste time!

If you have property in Spain and or abroad, or if you are concerned about your future financial settlement, let us guide you through the process to achieve a cost-effective and fair outcome.

If your spouse has assets outside of Spain, we will also consider your options about how best to enforce your Agreed Consent Order effectively in a foreign country.

If you are concerned about how to protect your assets during divorce proceedings, take urgent advice from our team of experienced international lawyers.

Divorce and Jurisdiction

Under Spanish law, a divorce in Spain can be granted:

At the request of both spouses

At the request of one of the spouses, with or without the consent of the other.

Since July 2005, you must wait only three months after the start of your marriage to seek an order for legal separation or divorce in Spain. You can also make a very early proposal to your spouse through your lawyers with your Spanish divorce petition (this is discussed in more detail below).

How can you find out whether or not you can issue proceedings in Spain?

Spain – like all EU Countries – does not follow the same “domicile principles”. The Spanish Civil Code provides that domicile is where a person has their habitual residence, and both domicile and habitual residence have the same meaning under Spanish law. This means that it is enough to show “habitual residence” status to divorce in Spain under Art. 3 Brussels II Revised (EC Regulation 2201/2003).

However you must be careful if you wish to challenge the jurisdiction as the Respondent in Spain. Don’t fall into the trap of replying or rejecting the offer through your Spanish lawyer, because this might be seen by the local judge as your acceptance of the jurisdiction – and you may have “lost the race” before it has even started.

Financial arrangements for children / child maintenance

If your spouse has filed for divorce in Spain, the judge will address the issue of child maintenance at a very early stage. If your spouse has already made an offer regarding child maintenance payments, you need to reply and set out your financial circumstances as soon as possible.

We have seen cases in which our client has issued divorce proceedings in England before the other spouse has issued in Spain. However because the spouse detailed their financial circumstances in his or her Spanish Petition proposal, the Spanish judge has expected that all financial issues will be addressed at this early stage. This can cause difficulties, particularly if you are not aware of the full “matrimonial pot”, and if you do not know whether or not the offer is fair.

It is also important to bear in mind that in Spain, the responding party carries the burden of proof in relation to all financial assets. In our experience this can be a very effective advantage if you are the paying party, but can also mean an extreme disadvantage for the other spouse, especially if they are not fully informed about the total amount of matrimonial finances.