When Expatriates want a divorce in Spain


I READ in the Euro Weekly News your article ‘Divorce in Spain’ (EWN edition 10/2/11). It did not say if this applies to Spanish nationals only. I am a British national living in Spain, does this situation apply to me?

IN principle the article published today applies to anyone in Spain.

In your case, I would need more information. But the rules are that any Spanish court can hear petitions for legal separation, divorce or marriage annulment when:

  • both spouses have Spanish nationality, or usually live in Spain;
  • when the respondent usually lives in Spain;
  • in the event that one of them still lives there, but was the last usual place of residence of both spouses;
  • Spain is the usual place of residence of either of them if the petition is being filed jointly;
  • Spain is the usual place of residence of the petitioner if he or she has lived there for at least one year immediately prior to filing the petition, or if he or she has lived there for at least six months immediately prior to filing the petition and is moreover of Spanish nationality.

Spanish courts may also have jurisdiction if the parties come before them expressly or tacitly or when the petitioner is Spanish and lives in Spain, with no other determining factors (but in those cases there is the possibility that the decision arrived at by the Spanish courts may not be recognized in other Member States of the European Union).

What documents will I need to get divorced?

  • The petition divorce has to be submitted to court in writing and signed by a lawyer and should include some basic documents:
  • Marriage certificate and,
  • if applicable, birth certificates of the children must be produced;
  • documents on which the petitioning spouse or spouses are basing their case; documents that enable an assessment of the financial situation of the spouses and, if applicable, of the children, such as tax returns, pay slips, bank certificates, title deeds or documents from the Property Registrar, in the event that the parties are petitioning for means of a property nature.
  • In the case of agreement (joint petition) the draft Settlement Agreement.

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