Divorcing in UK and Assets in Spain


Posted and filed under Divorce.


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.


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.


  • 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
    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

  • 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

    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

    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,


  • 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


    • 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

  • Vera Walsh

    My husband and i have been separated for about 26 years. He lives in England, i in Spain. We have no joint assets. How easy would it be to get a divorce please?

    • Tracie Miles

      Good morning Vera

      Thank you for contacting us. My colleague will contact you upon her return from holidays on Monday.


  • Christina Murray

    We are divorcing in U.K. We are non tax residents in Spain. We do not own a home in the U.K. We built a villa in Spain in 2015. The Villa is in my sole name, We have 2 cars, I am legal owner of one and he is legal owner of the other. Soon to be ex husband wants to continue using my car. Do I have to let him use my car while we are waiting for divorce? We have the Decree Nisi.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Christina, As you are divorcing in the UK you need to discuss this with your UK solicitor as it comes under that jurisdiction, Kind regards

  • Claire

    I am renting in UK having sold former marital home and starting divorce proceedings. My future-ex is living in our jointly owned villa in spain. I have a set of keys so he has changed the locks and the alarm code. Is this permissible and if not, what can I do

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Claire, Please contact me by email, negotiations need to be made about access to the property for you through solicitors, With kind regards, Amanda

  • Christine Hall

    My ex husband and I were resident in Spain from 2008. We divorced in Jan 2017 I am currently living in the UK. He signed a power of attorney to me on all rights to the house. Including a large mortgage. Am I still a resident of spain? I am retired since 2005.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Christine, It depends how long you have been out of the country as to whether you have lost your residency. But it sounds to me as if you are now a on resident and thus should be paying non resident tax on the property. Kind regards

  • Shelley Kemp

    My partner got divorced from his ex-wife in 2017 and now lives in the UK with me. His wife is in the matrimonial home which they both own in Tenerife. Both his children are now grown up (24 and 22), with one moved out and the other coming and going as he travels Europe for work. My partner was reluctant to broach the subject of selling/her buying him out until his children had left so it now feels like the time is right. His ex-wife says she can’t afford to buy him out and that she won’t sell! Then she said she’d get a valuation but got a friend to do it! She’s now gone quiet and isn’t communicating on it. What can my partner do to progress this and force the situation so he can get his half?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Shelley, He can take her to Court to enforce a dissolution of joint ownership, but he needs a lawyer in Tenerife unfortunately. Unless it is an amicable process, we cannot assist when it is so far away. With kind regards

  • Veronica Ross

    For the attention of Amanda Thomas. I need advice on divorcing in Spain

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Veronica, Please send me an email with where you live in Spain and the circumstances (children, assets etc) to sales@spanishsolutions.net. Kind regards. Amanda

  • Ang

    Hi, my husband and I are from Uk but own a property in Spain. We have no mortgage and both names are on the deeds. As part of our settlement agreement I offered him £35.000 for his share to be signed over to me. My lawyer has said there is only a defecit of £22.000 so my offer was generous. My husband is claiming he paid for most of the property and has insisted on £45.000 . Which I cannot afford as I will have all the legal costs and taxes etc. How much are the additional costs for taxes etc house value 155.000 € . I’m now thinking I would be better off NOT buying him out unless forced by law .. Can uk courts he force me to buy his share at his figure.?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Ang, We cannot calculate costs and taxes without paperwork (deeds and IBI) and to know which region the property is in in Spain. Your last question is a question for your UK lawyer as this is UK jurisdiction to sort the settlement agreement. However when an agreement is reached, then we can arrange the dissolution of the joint ownership for you. In the meantime, you are both legally responsible for the costs such as community fees, property tax etc in Spain, or if one is not paying this can be adjusted in the figures. With kind regards, Amanda

  • Michele

    Hello Amanda,
    I’m not sure if this question is within the scope of this article/page, but if you could advise me I’d be grateful.
    I divorced in the UK in 2015 and have been living as a Spanish resident since November 2020. At the time of the divorce I received a cash payment from my ex-husband as full and final settlement. I own no property in the UK or in Spain. Since becoming a Spanish resident I have only had the remainder of the settlement (totaling less than 50,000 euros) divided between my UK and Spanish bank accounts, with no other assets. Can you tell me if this settlement amount (received in 2015 and held in bank accounts that pay no interest) is liable for tax in Spain? I secured my residency on a non-lucrative basis (working as a volunteer) and have received no income in my time living here.
    Many thanks

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Michele, Please email Ana on office@spanishsolutions.net regarding this tax query. Thank you.Kind regards Amanda

  • Emma

    Hi Amanda,
    My husband and I bought a land jointly in Spain in 2020. We are now separated and starting the divorce procedure but we are in disagreement about who should keep the land. We both want to keep it, however I have the funds to buy him out while he doesn’t. How can we solve this situation? Does this need to be addressed by the UK court or Spanish court? Can the court force the sell?
    Many thanks

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Emma, This is unfortunately quite common and it would be an enforced dissolution of joint ownership procedure through the Spanish Court as the land is in Spain. No two co-owners have to remain tied together when they do not agree, so a Court will decide. If the land is fairly local to us, please contact me on sales@spanishsolutions.net to discuss this further by email, With kind regards, Amanda

  • Chris shore

    My wife and I are British citizens and both Spanish residents and getting divorced , the house deeds are only in the wife’s name, what is my entitlement as regards the proceeds of the sale of the property (on which we are both agreed)

    • Amanda Thomas

      Good morning Chris, It depends on the agreements that you have reached during the marriage. You could be entitled to nothing or 50% of the house. We would need a lot of information from you. Firstly, please can you send me an email advising me where you are both based in Spain and has your wife appointed her own lawyer? (sales@spanishsolutions.net), Kind regards, Amanda

  • Ann Merrigan

    Married in 2010 separated since 2012. Bought an apartment in Fuerteventura June 2011 in joint names. Money did come a sale of his property In Dublin. He’s been living in it since 2012 and wants me to sign my share over to him which I refused to do. I want a divorce and want to know if I’m granted a “quickie” divorce in Scotland do I lose my rights to my 50% ownership of the property??
    He was born in England but I think he now has Spanish residency

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Ann, You would need to consult a Scottish lawyer for this as the divorce would be done in their jurisdiction. But I hope not. Once matters are resolved we can help with the transfer of the property, With kind regards, Amanda

  • Sally

    hi, my husband and I are uk residents and we own a property in Spain with no mortgage. This has been rented out to the same couple for the last 15 years. We told them in February this year that we wanted the apartment back in September this year as we are retired and wanting to use it as our holiday home now. They are now telling us that legally they can stay there, under new laws in Spain, until July 2024 and intend to do so. Is there any way we can get them to move out in September? We are even considering divorce as we heard that this might be grounds for having them evicted but it seems like a drastic measure.

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Sally, We would need to see the contracts and know when the last one was signed to be able to advise on this. Please email first advising where the property is as you need a local lawyer. With kind regards

  • Uneiza Merali

    Hello Amanda, I am presently in the British courts trying to resolve a financial dispute with my husband. We have a Spanish property and my husband is claiming to live in Spain. However, he has just rented a house in central London. The courts in England are just taking his word, that he lives in Spain, in the villa we jointly own. . We have joint names on the deeds. However, the mortgage company have just lent to him.. so there is a mortgage on the property just in his name. If the house is sold,,would proceeds be split, and my husband would only have liability to pay back the mortgage as it is only his name? I am just asking from a legal standpoint . As I would assume obviously that this mortgage would be paid off, although it’s just in his name and then proceed to split . Just thought I’d ask though . I would like to sell the house, do the UK courts make the judgement, which a Spanish court would uphold for me? The mortgage is paid with matrimonial income. I’m classing it as matrimonial income because it’s been paid from earnings from property in his name that was acquired with the course of our marriage. All business property acquired, during at the course of our marriage, he always used to put it in his sole name..

    • Amanda Thomas

      Hi Uneiza, I have answered by email, Kind regards

  • Uneiza Merali

    my husband is saying that he’s living in Spain to the courts, in our financial resolution hearing in the IK. We own a property in Spain jointly. However, he has the mortgage in his name solely. What is his tactics by doing this, legally does that mean he has a larger claim to the Spanish villa, or will the UK courts see it as an asset. ? If I would like it, sold and the proceeds split, can the UK courts decide this? Then the Spanish courts action this?

    • Amanda Thomas

      Dear Uneiza, It is very difficult to advise without all the detail, but with the Spanish property, if you own half then you still own half, the mortgage secured is against the whole property however. So it would need taking into consideration by your UK lawyer and the Courts. You need to talk to your UK lawyer about these questions. What will happen is that eventually a UK Court Resolution will be grated stating what should happen. Then to make it happen in Spain in relation to the assets here, it may need a Spanish lawyer later to enforce the Judgement in the Courts in Spain, if he doesn’t do what they say he should. Kind regards

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