International Divorce & Family Law: Colombia
If you have property in or family connections to Colombia and are considering divorce it’s important to get advice from an international divorce solicitor. The financial implications and impact on child arrangements following a divorce through the Colombian courts may differ significantly from a divorce in England and Wales.
We advise individuals with connections to Colombia living in the UK and UK nationals resident in Colombia. Here we outline some of the key aspects of Columbian divorce law.
Getting Divorced In Colombia: Grounds
The following are grounds for divorce in Colombia:
- Contested divorce where one party alleges the other is at fault. For example, because of adultery, abuse, drug addiction or some other reason
- By a joint application without the need for a hearing
- Separation for two years
The Constitutional Court this year refused a contested divorce on the ground that one spouse had ‘fallen out of love’ demonstrating that when trying to prove fault there must be reliance on one of the well-established grounds.
Financial Settlements In Colombia
Financial matters are decided against the background of the financial regime that applies automatically to married couples in Colombia. It specifies that on marriage couples create a marital pot of assets – which doesn’t contain any pre-marital assets. This can be varied by a prenuptial agreement signed in accordance with certain conditions. Unlike in England and Wales the parties to a prenuptial agreement do not need to obtain separate legal advice for it to be enforceable. In addition if one party personally receives a gift or an inheritance this cannot be placed in the marital pot even under a prenuptial agreement.
Orders for spousal maintenance are limited. Colombian courts will only order payments to an ‘innocent’ spouse – that is one who has obtained a divorce decree as a result of the fault of his or her spouse. And payments will only be paid to a spouse who has no personal funds or property.
Advice On Divorce In Colombia
For international couples the Colombian courts have wide powers to take on responsibility for dealing with a divorce, including the financial aspects of separation. Not only British couples living in Colombia can get divorced there – so too can British couples who have left the country but still have a right to reside there. This has consequences for individuals who may wish to divorce in England and Wales. Here in the UK for example payments of spousal maintenance are more readily available and settlements are traditionally more generous to the financially weaker spouse. We advise individuals in this position as well as anyone with a connection to Colombia who is uncertain about their legal options when it comes to divorce.
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