For Maltese courts to have jurisdiction to hear a divorce suit in Malta, at least one of the spouses must be domiciled in Malta on the date of the filing of the divorce proceedings, or alternatively, one of the spouses must have been ordinarily resident in Malta for a period of at least one year before the date of the filing of such proceedings.
There are three grounds which ought to be satisfied for divorce to be granted under Maltese law, namely, that the spouses must have lived apart for at least four years out of the immediately preceding five years. Alternatively, at least four years must have passed from the date of legal separation for the spouses to obtain their divorce. The second requirement for divorce to be obtained is that all maintenance that any of the parties must have paid, whether towards the other spouse or towards children, necessarily must be fully paid as at the date of filing of the divorce application. Thirdly, there necessarily ought to be no reasonable prospect of reconciliation between the spouses, and it suffices for the court to hear such a declaration by one of the spouses alone.
To date, in Malta it is not possible to have a private divorce without any court involvement. However, it is noteworthy that if the divorce application is not uncontested, the court judgment declaring the spouses divorced may be delivered as early as at the first hearing of the case. Hence, uncontested divorce applications do not generally take a long time to be pronounced.
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