Family Law in Spain

Family Law in Spain

Updated on Monday 02nd April 2018

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The Spanish Civil Code includes the main elements related to family legislation that are important for local citizens, as well as for foreign persons who are residents in Spain or who have relatives in this country. At the same time, the family legislation prescribes the rights and obligations such persons have when getting married in Spain. Family Law concerns legal issues such as marriage, divorce, separation, matrimonial property regime, custody of children and other similar matters. 

The foreign entrepreneurs who perform businesses in Spain and live there for a certain period of time together with their families may encounter different legal issues concerning their families, so they may need the legal advice of a Spanish lawyer. A local attorney will explain the legal procedures applicable in the case of marriage, divorce or separation and the Spanish regulations that must be followed. Our law firm in Spain can offer information for special cases of divorce between a Spanish citizen and a foreign person, who is a citizen of a member state of the European Union (EU) or who resides outside the EU zone. 

Divorce procedure in Spain

The most common case related to Family Law is the divorce, which can be terminated at the request of both spouses. A divorce procedure in Spain can also be started at the request of only one of the parties, regardless if the other party agrees or not with the spouse’s decision. The spouses can ask for a divorce or a separation after minimum three months since they got married. However, there can be exemptions in this sense, as the party wishing to file for divorce may do so prior to the three months limit, in the extraordinary situations, such as when the petitioner considers that she/he or the children are in danger
Spain can be chosen as a country for divorce by foreign citizens who live here and have a residence in this country. The legal issues related to children will be decided by a judge, based on the local legislation concerning child custody. Our team of lawyers in Spain may provide in-depth assistance on the regulations available in this case.  Also, it is important to know that the divorce procedure may last up to six months (the average period of time) since the party (or parties) has (have) filed for divorce. However, this period can be extended up to one year, depending on the region in which the divorce procedure is held. 
Persons who are currently living in Spain should know that the country’s largest cities have specialised family courts, which handle legal matters prescribed by the family legislation

Children’s custody in Spain 

After the issue of custody of children is solved, the both ex-spouses will have the responsibility regarding the future of their children, especially in matters concerning health and education, in which the two parents have equal responsibilities and rights.
One of the spouses can receive a maintenance in Spain only if he/she can prove that is economically disadvantaged by the divorce.This is usually available in the case in which one of the spouses  gave up his/her career in order to take care of the children, while the other spouse earned a high salary and thus, he/she can pay a monthly allowance.
According to the Spanish legislation on the matter, the custody of the child (or children) can be granted to either parent. However, in practice, most of the courts will provide custody to the child’s mother (approximately in 95% of the cases). Depending on the child’s age (toddler, infant), the custody may be granted to the father as long as there is sufficient proof that the mother is incapacitated to take care of the children
If you need more information about the Family Law in Spain and your rights and duties, you may contact our law firm in Spain. Our Spanish lawyers will represent you in specific matters, such as divorce or marriage procedures or the division of assets amongst two former spouses