“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). If there are no minor children involved and Spanish law is applicable, the parties can even choose to avoid the courts and appear in front of a public notary, duly assisted by lawyers.  

2. Why is it called “express” ?

Because you don’t need to wait for the court to recognise a previous matrimonial separation, and there will be no court hearing (trial) involved or witnesses called.  The only timing requirement is that at least three months have passed since the date of the marriage -and, of course, that the Spanish courts have jurisdiction (so the right) to hear your divorce.  

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 raise objections to the arrangements.  

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

If Spanish law applies to their case, there should 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

 The agreement ("convenio", in Spanish) must first be signed by the couple 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 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 (or, if it is signed in certain countries, such as Canada, otherwise authenticated) and translated by an officially approved translator.  DOMENECH ABOGADOS is practised at getting such apostilles/authentication and we have our own officially approved translators in-house.  

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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