1. Divorce proceedings can be instituted in Malta if one of the spouses has a connection with Malta
The Maltese Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine a demand for divorce if the cause of personal separation between the spouses was heard before the Maltese civil court. Irrespective of this, a demand for divorce in Malta can also be heard if at least one of the spouses was domiciled in Malta (has his permanent home in Malta) on the date of the filing of the demand for divorce, or if at least one of the spouses was ordinarily resident in Malta for a period of one year immediately preceding filing of the demand for divorce.
2. Any one of the spouses has a right to demand divorce
Article 66A of Chapter 16 of the Laws of Malta explains that any one of the spouses has a right to demand that the marriage is dissolved. A demand for divorce can either be made jointly by the two spouses or by one of them against the other. In addition to this, Article 66D provides that it is not necessary for the party demanding divorce for it to impute to the other party any fault.
3. Spouses need not be legally separated for divorce to be attained in Malta
It is not a legal requirement for the spouses to be legally separated from each other by means of a contract or a judgement in order to demand divorce. In such cases, the spouse making the demand for divorce may together with the demand for divorce make any other demands permissible in a cause of separation. Article 66I further provides that the Court before granting leave to the spouses to proceed for divorce, may summon the parties to appear before a mediator, in order to attempt reconciliation, failing which the Court will seek to conclude the Divorce on the basis of an agreement on care and custody of the minors, visitation rights, maintenance, residence in the matrimonial home as well as the division of the community of acquests.
4. There are three main requirements for the attainment of divorce in Malta
The Maltese court grants divorce only if it is satisfied that on the date of commencement of the divorce proceedings, the spouses lived apart for at least four years, or four years have lapsed form the date of legal separation, that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between the spouses and both spouses and children receive adequate maintenance where due.
5. Re-marriage does not necessarily extinguish all obligations towards previous spouse
If an order for the payment of maintenance by means of a lump sum has been authorised by Court in favour of a person who remarries, this will remain due even if the party in whose favour it is made remarries.
Avv Maria Camilleri
Mifsud & Mifsud Advocates
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