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Notaries to give greater options to Expats living in Spain

On the 19th of June, 2015, the long-awaited draft for the Voluntary Jurisdiction Act was passed by the Spanish parliament, thus fulfilling the need to streamline the court process and give more options to citizens in need of legal assistance.

The great delegation of work which occurred years ago consisted of transferring responsibilities from the Ministry of Justice to Notaries in the processing of applications for Spanish nationality. The new Voluntary Jurisdiction Act aims to decentralize a great deal of judicial work, allowing other non-judicial authorities to assume responsibilities as diverse as divorce, separation and even marriage itself.

From the entry into force of the new law, expected by June 2017, citizens (including Expats living in Spain) may get married before a Notary, although this may still be done before the Judge of the Civil Registry, if the spouses prefer. Also, in certain cases, the spouses may separate and divorce before a Notary, thereby reducing the necessary processing times for these acts, which, at present, can take up to a year to resolve.

Other cases which will be taken on by the Notaries are monetary claims, the inheritance of Spanish estates and even certain conciliation cases, in which the Notary will play a mediating role between the parties, thereby making the court process unnecessary.

It seems clear that major steps have been taken to streamline our legal system, but it will take time to see whether the measure introduced by the reform manage to find sufficient social acceptance and are then used by the public.

Lexland professionals will keep you informed about the latest developments in family, marriage, inheritance and divorce law. If you wish to consult us about your marriage, inheritance or initiate divorce proceedings, do not hesitate to contact us. The first consultation is absolutely free.