Divorce was introduced in Malta in October 2011, until then only legal separation being acknowledged by the Civil Code.
Marriage dissolution can be requested by both spouses or by one of them, but the court will grant a divorce if the following conditions are met:
- when beginning the divorce procedures, the couple has lived separated for a period of at least four years or at least four years have passed from the legal separation;
- if there is no possibility for reconcilement;
- if the spouse and children will benefit from support according to article 66B in the Civil Code;
- at least one of the two spouses had residence in Malta when filing the divorce application.
Divorce procedure in Malta
Article 66D in the Maltese Civil Code states that it is not mandatory for the divorce application to contain any proof of wrongdoing. In the eventuality that spouses have not been legally separated by contract or judgment, they can invoke the same motives as they would do in a legal separation.
Divorce in Malta can be initiated during legal separation also, if one of the spouses files an application according to article 66F in the Civil Code. The divorce procedure can only continue after the Maltese lawyers of the spouses and the court have tried to reunite the couple according to the Civil Code, article 66I.
In Malta, during the divorce procedures, the spouses must present themselves in front of a mediator appointed by the Minister and agree on:
- child custody and care;
- visitation rights;
- spouse and children support;
- who will remain in the matrimonial domicile;
- division of common property.
After reaching an agreement over these aspects, the divorce procedure will continue.
Divorce procedure in case of legal separation in Malta
If the couple is legally separated, the spouse making the request only needs to append a legal copy of the contract or judgment of separation to the divorce application. The spouse not wanting the divorce has the right to contest the request if the term for legal separation has not passed or if the solicitant has not paid the maintenance.
Maintenance after divorce in Malta
Divorce in Malta will not deprive parents of their rights and obligations towards children. Article 66L allows parties to marry again after the dissolution of the marriage was declared, but maintenance will cease for the party getting remarried. Children have the right to receive maintenance up to the age of 23 as long as they are enrolled in a full-time education system.
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