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Family Law in Malta

Family Law in Malta

Updated on Friday 23rd September 2016

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Family Law in Malta

Family Law is part of the Maltese Civil Code and provides the main legal framework for relations among family members. Family Law in Malta regulates issues regarding adoption, child custody, divorce, domestic violence, property rights, support obligations and marriage. All disputes arising from family matters are subject of litigation in civil courts of justice.

Our lawyers in Malta can offer extended information on the Family Law.

Marriage in Malta

Individuals are allowed to marry in Malta starting with the age of 16, if parents or tutors have agreed to the marriage. After the age of 18, persons do not need consent from parents or tutors. According to the Family Law in Maltamarriage can only be celebrated by a formal ceremony after the marriage banns have been published. Marriage banns must be published at least eight days prior to the ceremony, but a request for publication must be made at least six weeks before the marriage. According to the Marriage Act, a marriage is valid if it is concluded in front of two adult witnesses and if it is officiated by a clergyman or a local council major. Marriages in Malta may only take place at the Marriage Register or another venue approved by the Register.

Separation, divorce and annulment in Malta

According to the Maltese Civil Law, separation may only happen in cases of adultery, excesses or threats, leaving the marital home and marriage breakdown. According to Maltese laws, married people must go to mediation before separating.

The annulment of a marriage represents the dissolution of marital relations and it is usually employed by individuals after separation. Marriage annulment is regulated by the Marriage Act, chapter 255Annulment of marriage in Malta can happen on several grounds, but when parties consenting to the dissolution must provide a good and sufficient reason.

The divorce procedure has been recently introduced in the Maltese legislation. The reason why divorce was delayed was that Malta is a Catholic country and divorce raised a lot of moral problems for the society. Divorce differs from marriage annulment mainly because no reason must be given when divorcing. However, in Malta divorce is an option after four years of separation of the spouses.

Child custody in Malta

Child custody is a debated issue once a family breaks down. In this case, a court will decide who the legal custody of minor children will belong to. Child custody in Malta can be jointly or can be entrusted to one of the spouses. When separation or divorce arises, maintenance is also very important and Article 6 in the Civil Law states a spouse leaving the matrimonial house will lose the right to maintenance. However, in case of underage children, both parents have the obligation to maintain them until they reach adulthood.

Enforcement of judgements in family law cases in Malta

All litigation cases related to family matters are tried by the Family Court in Malta. While Chapter 16 in the Civil Law provides for custody cases under the Maltese Family Law, the Civil Procedure Code establishes that a court can refuse custody to both parents, if the child or children are in danger. When it comes to child maintenance, the court can grant the party required to pay for child support or maintenance after divorce for a period of time before enforcing the judgement, according to Article 222 in the Civil Procedure Code.

For details about the legislation on family matters or legal representation in civil litigations, you can contact our law firm in Malta.



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