We focus on assisting you with personal separation, all through the process of separation of all assets.
We are experts in tackling these cases when it comes to the care and custody of children, together with maintenance, focussing more specifically on minors, access rights and their maintenance afterwards.
Our services towards families include:
- Adoption procedures
- Filiation cases
- Paternity cases
- Abduction cases
- Foreign marriages
- Foreign divorces
- Local divorces
- Annulments in Civil Courts
In Malta, through Maltese legislation, couple obtaining a divorce locally or under any other legislation, they can remarry. Divorce can only be sought after 4 years of separation between spouses. Maltese legislation recognised foreign divorces which were subsequently registered in Malta. Since Malta joined the European Union, there is a procedure of recognition of judgements which is available through the Brussells II EC 1347/2000 regulation.
An annulment is defined as a marriage dissolution as if it never existed, and commonly sought by the people after undertaking separation proceeding.
Article 19 in Chapter 255 of the Laws of Malta regulate annulments, and covers the situations leading to a marriage being null. Annulment requires a defect in the marriage at the time of consent.
Piscopo Advocates will guide and help you through annulment proceedings and provide support in this sensitive and delicate situation.
Separation means when two spouses want to live separately. The decision is two-fold: go through court or separate amicably. When separated there is no more obligation to live together in one matrimonial home, there will be a separation of estates and each party will be able to contract civil obligation without the need of the other spouse’s consent.
After separation some people co-habitate and live with someone else. Maltese legislation does not regulate the co-habitation of partners although Parliament has been discussing this issue.
According to the Maltese Civil Code, in Chapter 16 of the Laws of Malta, separation can only be requested on one of the following grounds, namely:
3. excesses, threats and/or grievous injury of one spouse against the other spouse
4. irretrievable breakdown of marriage; the spouses can no longer live together due to incompatibility of character.
It is mandatory under Maltese Law that spouses will go through mediation first to see if they can have reconciliation. If this does not work out, the spouses, together with the mediator and in certain cases with respective lawyers, try to agree on a contract that will regulate their separation of estate, maintenance, child custody and access, amongst other things.
If an agreement is reached between the spouses, the judge will give a decree after reviewing the mediators report. After the judge’s decree the contract can be published by a Notary, registered in the public registry, and it is binding on all the parties. If an amicable separation fails to be achieved, the Judge authorises the parties to proceed to litigation, whereby the Judge decides based on the case and proof presented. The separated parties cannot remarry.
The issue of maintenance, which arises in most separation and/or divorce proceedings has no basis in an annulment scenario unless this was agreed to in the separation process or under other specific provisions in the law.
During separation proceedings, if one of the spouses leaves the matrimonial home and does not return without a valid reason, will lose all rights to maintenance. Article 19 shows in detail the definition of maintenance which needs to be adhered to.
During divorce proceedings, maintenance is a crucial issue and is tackled rigidly and is not lost. Maintenance can be awarded both from one spouse to another and to children. A spouse can forfeit his/her right to maintenance. In the case of children, maintaining children is provided for in the law until they reach the age of maturity, or an older age if that is what the parties agreed to during separation. As your lawyers we know when it is appropriate to claim maintenance in separation and divorce proceedings because every case is unique.
The Care and Custody of children
Separation and divorce proceedings cover the legal custody and care of children. The court decides which spouse is entrusted with the legal custody and custody of the children. It can be both spouses or it can be decided in favour of one of the spouses in the circumstances. Our effors are to get you the best deal in this situation.
Under Maltese Legislation it is presumed is that the father of the child is the husband of the mother. The law also gives an exhaustive list as to when the husband can repudiate the child conceived in wedlock, however this is also a developing area in view of case law. If a child is born out of wedlock (by acknowledgement or by court order), filiation can happen.