The aim of this short guide is to give information on the options available to anyone contemplating divorce in Spain.
The first major question to answer is whether to proceed via the contentious or express routes to divorce. What are the advantages to choosing one or the other?
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Express Divorce v Contentious Divorce
While there are advantages to proceeding with an Express Divorce (divorcio de mutuo acuerdo), the choice is usually determined by the circumstances.
Contentious divorce proceedings will normally have to be issued:
- If one of the spouses does not wish to end the marriage or,
- If the spouses are unable to agree on the terms of the divorce.
It can often be difficult to avoid such circumstances but it is worth bearing in mind that if an agreement can be reached, Express Divorce proceedings can be taken instead which means a faster and cheaper resolution.
The Express Divorce route is cheaper as it permits both spouses to use the same lawyer who will draw up the divorce agreement on the agreed terms of the spouses as well as collate all of the required information and submit the relevant documentation to the court.
Choosing the ‘express divorce’ route will typically provide a saving of 75% of the legal costs of the process for each spouse.
A ‘procurador’ (officer of the court) is required legally to be present in all divorce cases in Spain which will affect the final fee also.
It should be borne in mind that the cost can rise due to additional complexity or where the lawyer needs to work with the couple to ensure that agreement is reached on any aspect of the divorce agreement.
Regarding the specific cost, it being free market, it is permissible for lawyers in Spain to quote as much (or as little) as they wish for legal services. This has resulted in a wide disparity in the quotations made for the same service – often by more than 100%.
So what does this mean for the ex-pat seeking a quotation for legal services?
In order to make sure you find the right lawyer for you, at the right price you may well need to speak to a number of lawyers. You should also check if the lawyer is adhering to the law societies recommended tariffs. Many still do even though they are not required to.
Advocate Abroad provide an extremely good value service that is provided at approximately 50% of the standard price charged!
For more information, please see the Advocate Abroad Express Divorce Service.
What issues will your lawyer need to address?
When involved in divorce proceedings in Spain you should have an experienced family lawyer advise you on some or all of the following issues:
- Custody of the children
- Visitation rights of the non-custodial parent
- The ‘Patria Potestad’ or Exercise of parental authority
- Child support payments
- Alimony or spousal maintenance
- Distribution of the matrimonial assets
- Use and enjoyment of the marital home
What services should your lawyer offer?
Your lawyer should be able to offer any of the following services:
- Filing of the divorce petition to the Spanish Courts
- Formal legal response upon receipt of a petition for divorce from the Spanish Courts
- Negotiation of all terms of the divorce settlement
- Drafting of the divorce agreement
- Division of Matrimonial Assets
Solicitors in Spain
Advocate Abroad can recommend family solicitors, from our network of family lawyers, who provide divorce services across Spain.
They are independent English-speaking lawyers that have plenty of experience in dealing with family law issues, particularly those that involve clients not from Spain.
The lawyers have been specifically recommended because of their experience, their level of English and because they are competitively priced.
Moreover the lawyers are competitively priced when compared to standard prices charged to Spanish clients for the same services.
Each lawyer is responsible for providing a quotation in advance which we would invite you to compare with other service providers.
Innovative Support Services – Free of Charge
Furthermore, by choosing a lawyer recommended by Advocate Abroad you can benefit from additional protection afforded by our innovative support services that are included free of charge.
These support services include:
- Documentation detailing regulatory status of your lawyer.
- Fees within guidelines established by Law Societies in Spain. .
- Legal fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
- Services levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
- All lawyers must hold professional indemnity insurance.
- Lawyers’ standard of English checked.
- Continuous quality controls and reviews.