Divorce Law in Spain

Updated on Friday 24th April 2020

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The divorce legislation in Spain is regulated under the rules of Family Law. The procedures regarding the manner in which a divorce can take place in this country are regulated by the Law 15/2005, but it must be noted that the procedure can be influenced by the Council Regulation (EC) No. 2201/2003, with regards to the nationality or residency of the parties, as well as on the courts which have jurisdiction on the respective case. 
 

What is the court jurisdiction for divorce in Spain? 
 

The jurisdiction of the court that can handle the divorce proceedings is determined based on the nationality of the parties, the matrimonial residence of the couple filing for divorce, the residency of the party who filed for divorce, these being only some of the important aspects. Our divorce lawyer in Spain can present more details referring to this subject, but it must be noted that the Spanish courts retain the right to rule over a case in the following situations: 
 
  • both spouses have their habitual residence in Spain at the moment when one of them filed for separation in Spain;
  • the couple’s last habitual residence was in Spain and one of the parties still lives here;
  • the respondent (the person who receives the divorce petition from the other spouse) has his or her habitual residence in Spain;
  • one of the parties has the habitual residence in Spain during an uncontested divorce (the term refers to a divorce where both parties agree on the separation);
  • the petitioner (the person filing for divorce) has been living in Spain as a resident for at least one year at the moment when the petition was made;
  • the Spanish courts have jurisdiction on the case when both spouses are of Spanish nationality
     

What are the conditions for divorce in Spain? 
 

Currently, those who are married do not have to meet any special conditions for a divorce in Spain. Prior to the Law 15/2005, a couple had to comply with certain requirements, but under the new law, there aren’t any grounds for obtaining a divorce or for filing for divorce in Spain. However, it must be noted that the parties should file their petition (or the party interested in divorcing the other spouse) after three months since the marriage took place. 
 
Still, this threshold doesn’t need to be satisfied if one of the spouses is in direct danger because of the other spouse. This also applies in the case in which the couple has children and the children are in any type of danger. Our divorce lawyer in Spain can present in-depth information on the rights children are entitled to upon the separation of the parents
 

What is the divorce rate in Spain? 
 

Following the introduction of the Law 15/2005, the number of divorces in Spain increased at a very rapid pace. This was a consequence of the fact that the legal procedure to divorce in Spain was very complex prior to the introduction of this law, but other factors were involved as well, such as the social stigma associated with this and the high costs couples were not able to afford. 
 
Prior to the 2005 law, Spain was known as one of the European countries with a very low divorce rate and numerous couples who were unhappy in their marriages preferred to live separated, but still being legally married. The data on divorces in Spain is collected by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics, which presents the following: 
 
  • in 2006, Spain accounted for 126,952 divorces, which marked an increase of 74,3% compared to 2005;
  • the rate for divorce in Spain in the case of those married of less than 1 year was the highest, accounting for 330,6% compared to 2005;
  • in 2007, a total of 125,777 couples divorced in Spain, and the divorce rate gradually decreased in the following years, reaching 98,359 divorces in 2009;
  • since then, only in the period of 2010 – 2012 and in 2014 there were more than 100,000 divorces per year;
  • in 2017, Spain accounted for 97,960 divorces and in 2018, for 95,254 divorces
     
Parties interested in separation in Spain should know that they have three options, based on the type of proceedings, as follows: divorce, separation and annulment. At the moment, the highest rate is still observed in the case of divorces. For instance, in 2018, Spain registered 95,254 divorces, but these statistics do not take into consideration the other ways through which a marriage can end. In the same year, Spain had 4,098 separations and 92 annulments
 
Those interested in this procedure should know that the duration of a divorce generally takes less than six months (in 74,7% of all the divorces from 2018). When we refer to uncontested divorces, the duration is of 3,3 months, while those which are contentious proceedings, the duration increases up to 10,1 months. We invite you to contact our divorce lawyer in Spain for personalized legal advice and legal representation in front of the Spanish courts