Residency Rights after Divorce or Separation in Spain

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Inma's service was professional and responsive. She was a very helpful partner in navigating the process.
Matthew Chic
Matthew Chic
18 Apr 2023

Service Details

Residency Rights after Divorce or Separation

This service is available across Spain

Who Is This Service For?

Many non-EU citizens are currently resident in Spain under a family reunification Visa obtained due to the fact that they are married to either a Spanish person or a person legally resident in Spain.

Since their residency rights depend upon their relationship with their partner, the validity of those rights may be called into question should the relationship terminate.

Nonetheless, should the non-EU citizen find themselves in any of the following circumstances, they may maintain their residency status, though please note it is necessary to take action quickly in order to preserve their residency rights (see further below):

  • The marriage lasted at least 3 years
  • Following the divorce or separation, custody of any children, born as a result of the relationship, is attributed to the non-EU citizen, or indeed visitation rights
  • The non-EU citizen was subject to some form of domestic violence which resulted in the separation or divorce

Should any of the above circumstances pertain, the non-EU citizen must visit the appropriate government department responsible for immigration matters to inform them which of the circumstances apply to them, in order to maintain their residency rights. 

Should none of the above circumstances apply to the non-EU citizen, they must reapply for residency based on any other of the options available to non-EU citizens to gain residency rights in Spain.


To benefit from this service, there are various scenarios and eligibility requirements to consider. These include:

  • Permanent Residency: If the family member has acquired permanent residency after renewing their residence card for the first five years, changes in their relationship status or the circumstances of their partner do not affect their residency status.
  • Retirement: In some cases, individuals may be eligible for permanent residency before the five-year period if they meet certain criteria, such as reaching the age specified by Spanish law for receiving an old-age pension, working in Spain for at least twelve months, and residing in Spain continuously for more than three years. These requirements may vary for self-employed individuals or those with Spanish citizen spouses or partners.
  • Disability: Individuals incapacitated on serious health grounds may also be entitled to retirement benefits, with residency duration exceptions based on specific circumstances.
  • EU Member State Employment: Those who have been employed or self-employed in another EU member state after three years of continuous employment and residence in Spain may still maintain their residency rights, provided they meet certain conditions.
  • Divorce/Separation: To maintain residency rights after divorce or separation from an EU citizen/legal resident in Spain, the couple must have been officially together for at least three years, with one year spent in Spain. Alternatively, rights can be preserved if the applicant is a victim of domestic violence, the couple has a child in common, or court-approved visitation rights exist.
  • Death: In the unfortunate event of the death of the EU citizen/legal resident, the residence rights of spouses/partners and children remain unaffected, allowing them to continue exercising their residency rights.


By engaging our legal service, you benefit from the expertise of experienced English-speaking lawyers in Spain who specialise in immigration and family law. 

We provide tailored advice and legal representation to help you navigate the complexities of Spanish immigration law during challenging life events. 

Our goal is to ensure the protection of your residency rights, providing you with peace of mind and legal clarity in uncertain times. 

What Does This Service Consist Of?

The legal process involves various steps to ensure the continuity of your residency rights. Our experienced English-speaking lawyers will guide you through these steps, which may include:

  1. Assessing your specific situation and eligibility for maintaining residency rights.
  2. Gathering the necessary documentation and evidence to support your case.
  3. Preparing and submitting applications or appeals as needed.
  4. Representing your interests in negotiations or legal proceedings, such as divorce or custody disputes.
  5. Assisting with the renewal of your residence card or permanent residency application when applicable.
  6. Providing legal advice and guidance throughout the process to ensure you understand your rights and options.

Free Support Services Included

When combined with the free and innovative Advocate Abroad support services you can be sure that you are obtaining completely transparent legal services from registered and regulated English-speaking lawyers abroad.These support services include:

  • Verification of the regulatory status of your professional.
  • Fees as recommended by the Local Professional Body
  • Fees specified in advance and legally guaranteed.
  • Service levels agreed in advance and guaranteed.
  • All professionals must hold professional indemnity insurance.
  • Professionals' proficiency in English monitored.
  • Continuous quality controls and reviews.

Why choose Advocate Abroad?