Don’t wait for them to file if you want to get divorced

As we’ve repeated in several of our blog posts, contested divorce proceedings are regulated by the Civil Procedure Law, which establishes the guidelines and terms to be followed. In this new post, we want to focus on the need to file a divorce petition as soon as possible, i.e. before the other party does. We’re going to review a series of tips, just as we did regarding the topic of foreigners married abroad divorcing in Spain.

A petition for a contested divorce must be accompanied by certification of the marriage record, and if applicable, of the birth records of any children at the Civil Registry Office. If property-related measures are being requested, the interested party must provide documents that allow for assessment of the spouses’ financial situation. For example, tax returns, pay slips, bank certifications, property deeds or registry certifications.

At ICN LEGAL we remind you that once the petition has been filed, the respondent only has 20 business days to respond in writing. Considering all of the documents that must be submitted, it is advisable to gain the upper hand and file the petition before the other party; that way there will be more time to gather all of the information and prepare a strategy for the hearing or possible trial. In addition, the petitioner will be able to “set the rules of the game” and “play with an advantage”.

In any case, the respondent may propose what is known as a counter petition, which means that the respondent is not limited to responding to the petition, but also files a written counterclaim. For example, when the respondent spouse seeks the adoption of definitive measures not requested in the original petition, which the court does not have to rule on. The clearest example of this is a request of alimony for the spouse disadvantaged by the divorce that the other spouse hasn’t proposed.

Warning in the event of unjustified absence

When the hearing is held, both parties must attend. In the event of an unjustified absence, a warning may be given, which may result in the facts alleged by the appearing party being accepted.

Other information of interest is that any evidence that cannot be presented during the hearing must be presented within a period not exceeding 30 days. The appearance of minor children (over 12 years old) or disabled children may be required if they have sufficient judgment.

As lawyers who are former judges, we will accompany you throughout the process. We remind you that the sooner you file a divorce petition, the more likely you are to get a decision favorable to your interests.

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