Divorcing in UK and Assets in Spain

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Posted and filed under Divorce.

divorceukassetspsain

We have had a few enquiries recently about divorcing in the UK and assets in Spain. Mostly asking what are the rights of the spouse or partner with regard to a claim on the property.

Jurisdiction

The first thing we should explain that jurisdiction in divorces is where the people permanently reside and especially where children live. If you are UK, for example, then, the divorce must take place there.

You are able to use a Lawyer there or self-representation. The British law applies as to who has a right to what assets in the divorce. Even if they are overseas. Such as a property in Spain. We do not deal with matters of UK law thus cannot advise on rights on assets of the parties in the divorce. Only a UK lawyer can do that.

If the divorce was taking place in Spain as one or both of the parties lives in Spain, then we can assist. And advise on a party’s rights under Spanish law to a property of half of a property.

Divorcing in UK and Assets in Spain – Can one party sell the property?

If you are both co-owners, it will be up to the UK Court (as their jurisdiction) to advise on how the property will be dealt with. That UK ruling does not
directly affect the property in Spain, if it was granted in one party’s favour. If, for example, it says that the apartment in Spain should go to the husband, it does not happen automatically.

It would need a division of joint tenancy or dissolution of joint ownership to be done (a change of ownership). Through a Spanish notary and the Land Registry in Spain. The person keeping the property usually pays the costs, but this aspect should be mentioned in a divorce agreement. It would incur costs of land registry, notary, solicitor, stamp duty and other minor items. He would have to use a Spanish Solicitor to arrange this, and the wife would also have to sign the transfer. Either by way of a power of attorney or in person.

While you are joint owners the husband (this is an example) could not sell without the wife’s authority and signature. We have done many of these transfers of property into one name after divorces and can assist with this.

Divorces in Spain

We deal with all matters associated with divorces in Spain, separations and child custody, so if we can help on these matters please let us know.

46 Comments

  • Joanna

    Would like advice on divorce please.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Joanna, I am going to email you directly regarding divorce as there are lots of different scenarios so we can discuss it, With kind regards, Amanda

  • Lucie Holmes

    My partner wants to divorce his wife, they have been separated 3 years, he lives in Spain and she moved back to the UK, please can you advise on how this can be done.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Lucie, Please can you email for the attention of Amanda with whether they both have children together, where they live, is he on the padron in Spain and where are any joint assets? Also please where did they get married. With kind regards

  • Julie McKenna

    Hi, my partners wife (they have been separated for 9 years lives in Spain. My partner and I live in UK. The Spanish property is rented out. The rent does not cover the morgage so my partner and I have been topping up the morgage for 9 years with no financial help from his wife. She still wants 50% of the property when it’s sold. Does she have this right and what rights do I have as I have paid her morgage for years. Any advice?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi Julie, I think from your message that your partner and his ex wife both own 50%. As such yes she will have to approve and sign for a sale and she will be entitled to 50% of the sale proceeds. However, she also has a legal obligation to pay half the mortgage, council tax, community fees etc. Just not utility bills. So as long as you can prove you have paid her share, you have a claim against her for this money. You could actually demand it at any time through a lawyer, or wait until it is sold, but you definitely need a lawyer dealing with this at some stage, Kind regards Amanda

  • Julie Goymer

    Hi there. My ex has decided to stay in Spain and keep everything. Do you know how I can fight this? He’s coming up with a separation agreement but has left me with nothing.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Julie, Yes you can do a fighting proceeding through the Courts, please contact us if you would like is to help you, Kind regards.

  • Harry Jones

    I have own a property in Spain since 2016 and it’s just in my name. We married in vegas in 2009 but never registered it in the UK. Would she have a claim on my property in Spain? I have also recently found out she has been claiming she has been living on her own since are 1st child in 2006. So not only have I given her money for rent and bills she has been having all single parents bennifts.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Harry, I am sorry but it is impossible to give guidance on this type of issue without a lot more information. If you are both living in the UK you need UK legal advice. I would advise contacting the UK Citizens Advice Bureau or a lawyer. Kind regards

  • Mark Carter

    I jointly own a house in Spain with my ex wife divorced 4 yrs. Uk consent order says both have the right to sell. My wife wishes to sell. Which court has jurisdiction the uk or spanish court? Is it the uk divorce court and the spanish court merely enforces the order and forces the sale? I want a fair market value, she wants to sell since he market has collapsed during covid. Are we permitted to seek a fair market value and sell next year? Is it the spanish Court or the uk court that will force the issue may I ask?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Mark, I have checked with our solicitor and he said “Spanish courts have jurisdiction. The value must be fixed in agreement but for both of them. Otherwise, the judge appoint an independent surveyor.

      We can help him.” Please can you send us a copy of the deeds and the copy agreement, Kind regards Amanda

  • Vincent Bushell

    Dear Sirs
    My wife lives in Spain i live in the UK. I would like to file for divorce on the the grounds of adultery on her part both in the UK and Spain.
    What do I need to do. PLEASE advise accordingly
    Regards
    Vince Bushell

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Vince, In Spain there are no reasons given for divorce, but I am sorry to hear that. I will send you an email shortly with what we need from you, Kind regards

  • Veronica

    During my marriage my husband has never allowed me access to his income or bank account and has saved at least twenty thousand euros that I know of. Will I be entitled to half of this amount as it has accrued during the marriage.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Veronica, This is a difficult question to answer as it depends on a lot of different aspects. If you are separating or divorcing please contact me and we can advise depending on answers to some questions and on jurisdiction. With kind regards, Amanda

  • Carol Lavinia

    My ex husband committed adultery and is now residing in our jointly owned property in Spain. I had to sell our U.K. property as I could not afford the mortgage on my own as he lost his job the same time he left me. I have now moved and live with my daughter in the U.K. I still pay have the mortgage on the Spanish property. Am I still able to occupy this apartment when I want to?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Carol, I am sorry to hear this. This is complicated and I am going to email you directly, Kind regards Amanda

  • Tim Foster

    My wife and I co-signed on a rental property in Spain which technically is valid for 5 years until June 2024. She’s gone back to England and left me to pay all the rent and bills associated with the rental. Can I send her an invoice for her half of the rent and bills each month to England? Can she just move out like that and not be responsible for paying anything? We were joint tenants as husband and wife. There was no warning of her leaving, I have to assume she has met someone, it was so sudden and unexpected.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Tim, I am sorry to hear this. Well… you can can ask her formally, but if she refuses to pay anything (which we suppose she will), then you must pay the rent and bills on your own. Legally, the user of the property (whether owned or rented would be only responsible for the utilities, the others should be shared). But it will be very difficult to sue her when she is in another country, I am sorry, it would be very expensive, Kind regards

  • Andrew

    We are both resident in Spain (since Oct 2019) and have a jointly owned property. I am not happy, want a divorce and to move back to UK. She is happier here and says she would not grant me a divorce. How best for me to proceed to file for divorce?

    • Nicola Ryan

      Afternoon Andrew,

      Thank you for your enquiry.

      Our paralegal Amanda will be in contact shortly to discuss this matter further.

      Kind regards
      Nicola

  • Elaine

    We bought a house in Spain back 30 years ago but was advised for reasons not to put my name on the deeds .as it’s was bought by my partner and his father .his father passed away and it went all to my husband as we are now married in 2006.
    Still was told that my mane was not needed as my husband has made a will leaving it to me .
    Know my husband know wants a divorce and me out ,I been told I not intilled to anything.
    But we remorged our house in the uk to by Spain villa which both names was on

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Elaine, I haven’t got your full message here but I think I have the gist. This will need to be considered as part of the divorce proceeding by whichever lawyer is dealing with the matter in UK or in Spain. The divorce has to be where one or both of you are living. Kind regards

  • Donna Hough

    My husband and I have recently divorced and still have a mortgaged property in Spain in joint names. He is happy for his name to be removed from the mortgage and I have agreed to pay all costs for this. He can no longer travel due to ill health, where would I start to get the process underway and is this possible?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi Donna, I am going to email you separately about this, but yes it is possible, Kind regards Amanda

  • Joy Waddilove

    Hello could you advise me please, myself & my husband brought a property in Spain 14 years ago,
    10 years ago my husband committed I adultery we are separated but not Divorced. 3 years ago my husband decided to go and live in our property, all my inheritance from my Parents brought the property in Spain, I’m not saying my husband Owes me the cost of the house, but I would like it sold on a 50/50 basis so we can divorce and move on with our lives, I’m renting property in the uk, and do struggle financially, is there anything I can do to solve this problem, thank you

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Joy, Yes, you would need to start a process of a division of joint tenancy and divorce if you wish, but if he does not agree it may have to go through the Courts. Legally, you both have the obligation to pay council tax, mortgage 50/50 as joint owners and you are entitled to at least half of the property less anything you owe. He is responsible for the utilities as living there. We could help if you could send us the deeds and suma/Ibi bill and start with a letter to him. With kind regards, Amanda

  • Maria

    Hi,
    In 1984 my husband and I bought a commercial pub in Tenerife. It was bought jointly on a title only.
    While we were still married he obtained the escritura in his sole name.
    We divorced some years later & the Uk court ordered he pay me half.
    He never did & rented it out for 20 years or more.
    He now intends to sell it. Freehold.
    A question:
    If I obtain an order for financial divorce settlement in Uk can this be attached to the property.
    The courts cannot find the original order so I would need to make a new one.
    Thank you

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi Maria,

      The UK Judgement cannot be attached to the property, but a new Judgement in Spain (an Execution proceeding) could be applied for to embargo it once you have the new original order in the UK. You would need a lawyer in Tenerife to assist with this when you get to that point, Kind regards

  • Graham Grant

    Hi,
    My wife and I have been married for over 20 years and have recently decided to get divorced. A few years ago I opened an English academy which has become quite successful. She says that her lawyer has told her that she owns 50% of the business. I am autonimo and she is autonimo familiar now she has started telling the employees what to do because of this information. Is this correct?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Graham, To see answer this, we would have to review all the documentation of the divorce and the academy, I am afraid, Kind regards Amanda

  • Kay

    I am divorced. I own a house 50/50 with my Ex. He is living in the house, I have moved out.
    He now wants to buy me out. How do we go about this process? Change if escritura, capital gains tax, fees, etc

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Kay, I am going to email you with the process and documents. Kind regards,

      Amanda

  • Elizabeth

    My husband and I are Spanish residents. I own a home in Spain, the escaturia is solely in my name as is the mortgage attached to the property. I’m the only one whom has paid the mortgage and bills associated with the property. My husband has made no financial contributions at all. Unfortunately, our marriage has broken down, if we were to divorce would my husband be able to claim half the property?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Elizabeth, I would need to know by email please where you are based and what nationality you both are and where you were married. However from what you have told me I think it is highly unlikely as long as everything could be evidenced. We could help you with the divorce if you are local to us, With kind regards, Amanda

  • Helen

    Hi my partner has Spanish residency but wishes to divorce his wife , they are uk nationals , she lives in Spain in a rented property , no children under 18, he has worked and lived in uk the last 8 years . How does he go about filing for divorce , as after brexit we are not sure of the rules and regulations

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi Helen, If his wife lives in Spain we can do the divorce in Spain, not a problem, but we need to know where, so perhaps you could send an email with further details and let us know if it is amicable or fighting. With kind regards, Amanda

  • Christine curnow

    My husband tricked me into leaving England with our 2 children to live in Spain. He immediately restarted a relationship with a woman he was betrothed to before he left Spain and married me in England.
    We were married nine year.
    We lived with his family and I was treated very badly by his sister mother an brother in law.
    During this time we found a flat and put on a down payment.
    Both signatures were put on the documents.
    In a short while we moved into the property but he never came home, he stayed out with this woman leaving me no alternative but to leave and bring my children back to England. We had to leave in the dead of night as if he caught me he wouldn’t have let me take the children.
    I realised he had got me there under false pretences and only wanted the children.
    A year on he came and snatched my boy who was then around nine years old , he tried to take them both but my daughter fought and got away.
    This happened forty years ago but am I legally still half owner of the property.
    Many thanks

    Christine

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Christine, I am sorry to hear your story. If you would like our assistance in anyway please send an email with the documents for the apartment, Kind regards

  • Lins

    My husband & I are both Spanish residents, he is German & I am British. I want to divorce him & return to England. The villa that I have invested 10 years of money, time & energy & set up a 5 star rental business is in his name only. I have been told by a Spanish divorce lawyer I have no rights at all to the property. If I move to England, renounce my residency, then divorce him from England, do I have any more rights?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Lindsay, You would need to talk to a UK lawyer for advice, but I do not think that would make any difference. I would however get a second opinion from a local lawyer to where you are based. Kind regards

  • Carolyn weafer

    Hi i bought a house in spain outright when married ,several years later we were in a bad relationship and argued a lot ,my husband agreed ,incase of messy divorce forthcoming he owed it to me to take his name off from the spanish house as he admitted the funds had come from my originally owning a property before i met him and he agreed he had no claim .we took his name off the house at a solicitors in spain ,and he signed stating it was mine .Y ears later we are divorcing ,and he is now asking for claim to the house in spain we have no other assets except he paid dearly after we split up for a mobile home if he can make claim to spanish house …does that mean also i can make claim back to his mobile home ? Many thanks c weafer

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Carolyn, I am sure your solicitor in the divorce will advise but from what you have written here I doubt that your husband would have any claim to your Spanish house. With kind regards

  • person

    My wife and I live in the UK but she is from Spain. We have a little girl who is the main reason we are still together. She owns her own property in Madrid that she rents out. I own the house we live in, in manchester. She hasn’t contributed to any of the mortgage payments but pays rent which covers bills and food. If we wanted to separate, would you be entitled to any of my home? I have accrued a fair amount of debt refurbishing the house we live in would she be responsible to cover any of that? What happens to her property in Spain? Ideally, we could split amicably but I am not sure this is possible. If I let her and my daughter live in Spain, would I have any rights?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Good morning, as you both live in the UK and more importantly your daughter any split would need to be handled by a UK lawyer as UK jurisdiction. We could assist with any changes to jointly owned property but you need advice from a UK lawyer I am sorry. With kind regards

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