Divorce in Spain

It is fairly easy to obtain a divorce in Spain provided both parties agree on the appropriate arrangements for children and assets.

There is no need to cite a reason in order to obtain a divorce in Spain. 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. Thus they must be on the Padron or electoral roll. Or they are a Spanish national, or their children live in Spain. In a contested divorce, both parties must be residing in Spain or accept the Spanish jurisdiction.

After Divorce in Spain

Once the divorce is granted, the parties to the marriage can remarry legally. The divorce does not automatically means you lose the marital inheritance rights, so it could be advisable to change a Will after divorce.


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 (which region).

How to get a divorce 

You may get divorced in Spain only if you comply with any of the following requirements:

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. However, in practice, if you can show a Padron, the Courts will accept you are living in Spain. Nationality is not important for a divorce proceeding, only the residence.

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. 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.

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 a contract of agreement covering the following issues:

Cohabitation and custody arrangements for any children. This includes 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.  Plus an up to date Padron.

In some cases if there are no children and no assets then the divorce can be arranged at a Notary.

Notary Divorce in Spain

There was a new law (Law of Voluntary Jurisdiction). This makes it possible for a couple to divorce simply and easily at a Spanish Notary. This applies when there are no children under 18 years old and it is an amicable divorce. 

The Notary must be in the area where one or both of the parties lived or the usual residence of them. However, the applicants do not always have to be present. 

A qualified solicitor must prepare the Divorce deed according to the Civil Code. They can often be provided with power of attorney by both parties so they do not have to always attend the Notary. Thus a divorce in Spain, when in agreement and no mutual children in common may be achieved simply. You only have to pay notary fees, solicitor fees and for a power of attorney if you cannot attend. 

If a Notary divorce is not applicable then the power to grant a divorce rests with the judge. Assuming there are no unforeseen issues, an uncontested divorce can be concluded fairly quickly.

Contested divorce

In this case the divorce petition is filed by only one of the parties to the marriage. This is sometimes known as a ‘contentious’ divorce. Furthermore, this court procedure is long and somewhat complex. If the parties fail to agree, it may require negotiation and communication between lawyers. Also perhaps the production of third party evidence.

Depending on the circumstances, before starting the divorce procedure, provisional measures may be set up. This would be in order to make property settlement, child custody, support and alimony arrangements. The marriage certificate and the birth certificates of the children are always required, as is a Spanish lawyer. A contested divorce can take anywhere from a few months to a more than a year.  Both parties will have to attend a Court hearing.

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