Once rare in mainly Catholic Venezuela, divorce has risen markedly in recent decades. There is no longer the social stigma associated with divorce that existed in the past. Because of the different approaches taken by the courts there and in the UK anyone getting divorced in England who has a legal link to Venezuela should get expert advice on how any international dimension is likely to affect a final divorce settlement.
Our team of international divorce lawyers can assist individuals who were married in Venezuela but live in the UK, those who own Venezuelan property and those who are of Venezuelan nationality. Here we outline some of the basic principles of Venezuelan family and divorce law.
Grounds For Divorce In Venezuela
The Venezuelan Civil Code (Article 185) provides both spouses with the right to petition for divorce. The grounds on which a petition can be based are:
- Abandonment of the family home
- Where one spouse corrupts the other or any children, including involving them in prostitution
- Abuse that makes living together impossible
- Imprisonment of one spouse
- Drug addiction or psychiatric illness that renders living together impossible
- One year separation by consent
- Five year’s separation (on the application of one spouse)
Children And Divorce In Venezuela
Following divorce both parents will retain parental authority in relation to any children. The Law of Protection of the Child and Adolescent specifies that parents should make every effort to agree which of them should have custody of those children over seven years. Custody of children under seven will ordinarily be granted to the mother unless it is in the best interests of the child to be separated from her.
If parties are unable to agree the court will make a decision on custody.
Marital Property And Divorce In Venezuela
When a divorce petition is filed in Venezuela the family courts have the power to decide which spouse can remain in the family home while the divorce process is ongoing. This right of residence is usually granted to the parent with whom any children of the marriage live. At this initial stage the courts will also expect full disclosure of the property of each spouse as well as any commonly owned property.
Once the divorce decree has been issued the courts can make final orders relating to property division. In relation to spousal maintenance this is available to the spouse who:
- Is not at fault in the divorce; and
- Is unable to support him or herself
Any obligation to pay maintenance terminates if the spouse in receipt of payment remarries.
Advice On How Venezuelan Law Could Affect Your Divorce
If you or your spouse has any legal association with Venezuela and are seeking divorce in England, you should consider legal advice to ensure you adopt the most effective legal approach to your divorce. It may be preferable for example to issue proceedings in the UK before your spouse has the opportunity to start your divorce in Venezuela. This is particularly the case if you are the financially weaker spouse as the courts in England and Wales adopt a relatively generous approach to maintenance and financial settlements. At Brookman we assist individuals in this type of situation. Even if we do not have direct experience of the law in Venezuela our international divorce experience ensures that we are in a position to provide reliable and effective advice on your divorce if there is a possibility of Venezualen law having some impact on your case.
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