Family Law By Region
- Divorce Law in Alicante
- Divorce Law in Andalucia
- Divorce Law in Asturias
- Divorce Law in the Balearics
- Divorce Law in the Canaries
- Divorce Law in Cantabria
- Divorce Law C. La Mancha
- Divorce Law in Castilla y Leon
- Divorce Law in Cataluña
- Divorce Law in Extremadura
- Divorce Law in La Rioja
- Divorce Law in Madrid
- Divorce Law in Murcia
Articles and Guides
- NEW: 10 Must Know Facts For
Anyone Divorcing in Spain
- Alimony in Spain
- Child Custody in Spain
- Division of Matrimonial Assets
- Govt. Assistance Fund
- International Divorce
- Child Maintenance Payments in Spain
- Comparison of UK & Spanish Law
- Enforcing Maintenance Agreements Abroad
- Reducing The Cost of Divorce in Spain - Express Divorce
- What Happens If Divorce Terms Ignored
- The Marital Home After Divorce
The Application of Spanish Law'
Since it is likely that Spanish law may apply to divorce proceedings then it is important to have an understanding how this will impact on the distribution of marital assets.
Typically Spanish law is applied where a foreign national is resident in Spain and married to a Spanish national. Also, a married couple who are foreign nationals resident in Spain may also request that a Spanish court applies Spanish law to their divorce application if they are habitually resident there.
The rules relating to the distribution of marital assets govern what will happen to the shared matrimonial home, how any shared assets will be split etc
So, here we shall look at how Spanish courts assess the legal issue of division of matrimonial assets. Specifically we will consider the following matters:
• The different 'types' of marriage in Spain
• Division of Assets in 'Separación de Bienes' type arrangement
• Division of Assets in ' Sociedad de gananciales' type arrangement
• What are private assets?
• The matrimonial home
• Division of Assets Process in a Contentious Divorce
Different Economic Relationships in Spain
The first step is to determine under which system of economic relations the marriage has existed.
In Spain, there are two standard economic types or systems of marriage: 'separación de bienes' and 'sociedad de gananciales'.
Unless specifically chosen by way of public document signed in front of a notary, the type of marriage is determined by default and usually depends upon which autonomous community or region the couple are resident once married.
Division of Assets Under 'Separación de Bienes'
This, or a variation of it, is the default choice in Cataluña, Aragón, Navarra, Balearic Islands and Basque Country.
Where a couple are married under 'separación de bienes' then each spouse is considered to own that which they brought into the marriage i.e. owned before they were married as well as that which they have acquired during the marriage either by purchase, inheritance or gift. They may dispose freely of such goods and assets as they wish.
So, where the couple purchases an asset, say a car, and one pays 75% of the cost while the other spouse pays the remaining 25% then upon divorce they would be entitled to a percentage of the value of the car based upon the percentage that they contributed to the purchase price.
If it is not possible to determine which of the spouses is the owner of a particular asset then it is split 50-50.
In terms of contributions made towards the cost of assets, recent court rulings suggest that the spouse who stays at home to look after domestic chores, raising children etc, may have a financial value attributed to that work.
Division of Assets Under 'Sociedad de Gananciales'
This is the default position in the remaining Spanish regions and has the effect that all goods and assets acquired during the course of the marriage and which are not considered to be 'private' goods, are to be considered as belonging to both spouses equally. Examples of goods and assets to be included in the matrimonial 'pot' would be:
• Goods obtained by the work or industry of either spouse,
• The benefits, income or rents obtained from other goods owned by either spouse even if considered to be 'private' goods,
• Goods obtained by using common funds whether for the use of one or other of the spouses,
• Businesses and companies founded during the course of the marriage where common funds are used. If both private and common funds are used then the ownership is split in the ratio in which they were bought,
• Goods purchased initially with common funds that require instalments to be paid later such as hire-purchase will be shared even if the instalments are paid by one of the spouses.
So the income and pension of either spouse may be considered to belong to the matrimonial 'pot' and would be potentially divisible between both spouses upon dissolution of the marriage.
However, while all of the previously-mentioned assets are shared equally, those assets considered to be 'private' are not and may not be divided between both spouses upon a termination of the marriage.
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