What are the conditions required for a divorce?
The Family Court will grant a divorce if:
a) the parties have been separate for at least 4 years. This include de facto separation,
b) children and the spouses are receiving adequate maintenance (if this is due), and
c) there is no prospect of reconciliation.
How long do divorce proceedings take?
An uncontested divorce is usually handled by the law courts within a matter of weeks (usually less than 2 months). If a divorce is contested the law courts would have to hear both parties and examine whether there are any grounds at law on which the request for divorce can be refused. In such case, the matter could take up a number of months, usually depending on how cooperative the parties are.
Can an application for Divorce be opposed?
There are only 2 grounds for opposing a divorce. One may argue that the parties have not yet been separated, at least de facto separated, for 4 years. Another ground for opposing divorce is by proving that the children or the spouse are not receiving the maintenance established to be paid.
What is the Cost of a Divorce in Malta?
Although there are those who only forked out less than 400€ for a divorce, most people are usually billed around 1,000€ when filing for divorce in Malta. Court and lawyer fees are regulated by the law. A divorce application will surely involve:
a) Court fees. The court application itself costs 60€. The divorce court application would have to be notified to the other party. Under ordinary circumstances, notification costs never exceed 20€.
b) Lawyers' Fees for drafting the application. This is also regulated by law and a lawyer's fee for preparing the court application should be around 140€
The bare possible minimum for a divorce will hence be around 280€. Other costs will involve:
c) legal research.
d) collecting information. The lawyer may need to collect more detailed information about the case in order to be able to draw up the court application.
For this work many lawyer charge 50€ per hour, as per guidelines per chamber of advocates.
Costs relating to separation proceedings are to be kept distinct from costs relating to divorce.
Lawyers should be able to give their clients a proper indication of the divorce costs involved prior to them being engaged.
Is there a divorce application form in Malta?
There is no formal court application form that a married person has to fill in to apply for a divorce. An application has to be drawn up by the lawyer. A court application for divorce will include the details of the parties, the date of marriage and a notice to the court that the couple have been either de facto or de jure separated for at least 4 years. Finally, the court application should ask the court to pronounce a couple as divorced.
How to apply for divorce in Malta?
A divorce application has to be drafted and signed by a lawyer practising in Malta. It is then up to the Family Court to decide whether to accept the application or otherwise.
How do I find Divorce Lawyers in Malta?
There is no formal list of lawyers who specialise in divorce and any lawyer who has admitted to practice as a lawyer in Malta can file an application for a divorce.
Does the law require me to have been separated for 4 years? Is there a way to shorten the time period?
Divorce requires that the parties have been separated for at least 4 years. The separation need not have been formalised, that is to say, a formal agreement of separation has been drawn up or a court judgment has been delivered.
The time period may not be shortened but the time period starts to elapse from the day that the parties are defacto separated. This means that the 4 year period starts to elapse from the date when the relationship effectively broke down.
What's the difference between annulment and divorce?
Parties may annul their marriage if they manage to prove to the Family Court that when they contracted marriage they lacked an important condition for contracting marriage. A marriage that is contracted solely for immigration purposes can be annulled. A marriage contract by a spouse who did not understand the importance of fidelity can also be annulled.
Divorce, unlike annulment, does not require parties to proove that at the time of their marriage they did not have the essential capacity to contract marriage, hence that marriage is null. Divorce can be applied for by all those who are married, provided they have been separated for at least 4 years.