Family law deals with issues of maintenance, filiation, care and custody of children, separation, annulments and divorce.
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.
Piscopo Legal will assist all the way.