“Fast-track divorce” under Spanish law  

Warning: The information set out below is a general guideline provided by DOMENECH ABOGADOS. Specific advice should be sought before any action in reliance on it is taken, as explained more fully in this website's legal notice.

1. What’s a “fast-track” or “express” divorce under Spanish law?

It’s a shortened “non-contentious” court procedure that a married couple can use to get divorced in Spain, as long as they agree to file the court application jointly (or one of them does that with the other’s consent).  

2. Why is it called “express” ?

Because you don’t need to wait for the court to recognise a previous matrimonial separation.  The only timing requirement is that at least three months have passed since the date of the marriage.  

3. What grounds can be used to get an “express” divorce in Spain?

There’s no need to state any grounds, so there’s no need to claim there’s been unreasonable behaviour, adultery, etc.  If both spouses want to end their marriage, the Spanish courts don’t need to know why.  

4. But surely the courts will have to decide about children’s custody and contact issues and financial matters ?

Of course, but this’ll be done taking into account the written agreement (convenio regulador in Spanish) filed in court by the couple: this must include their proposed arrangements for the family home, custody of and contact with under-age children, distribution of assets and other financial measures (including child maintenance).  If such arrangements are reasonable, the Spanish courts aren’t likely to interfere with or modify them. In any event, when there are minor children, the Public Prosecutor will have to issue his/her opinion on this agreement and, if this opinion is favourable, the court is not likely to object.  

5. Can fast-track divorces apply to foreigners in Spain ?

If Spanish law applies to their case (in accordance with article 107 of the Spanish Civil Code) there will be no problem.  But when a foreign law must be applied, then it will depend on whether this foreign law establishes additional requirements that prevent a fast-track divorce.  For instance, if a foreign law requires that the parties must have been married for at least one year before being entitled to apply for divorce or if it requires a previous court resolution of separation, the Spanish court will not be able to override such requirements.

6. How long does it take to obtain a fast-track divorce order ?

That depends on the court involved, but generally speaking it should take a few months.

7.   Do the husband and wife need to appear in court

Yes.  Under Spanish law, the agreement (convenio) between the parties must be signed first between themselves and, at a subsequent date, before the Judge.  Some Judges allow this second signature to be given by a representative, but this will require the granting of a relevant power of attorney before a notary in Spain or before a foreign notary.  In this last case, the document will have to be stamped with the Hague Convention apostille and translated by an officially approved translator.  DOMENECH ABOGADOS is practised at getting these apostilles and we have officially approved translators.  

If you’d like to know if your divorce could be “fast-tracked”, contact Rafael Domènech at DOMENECH ABOGADOS: it’s great to be “fast” but all divorces must be handled correctly!
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