Nothing is more challenging and emotionally turbulent than a personal separation as it signals the end of a marriage. Thus, one must ensure that they find the right notary to handle their case as sensitively as possible in order for a smooth personal separation to take place.

When one chooses to get separated it is not just commonly owned property which needs to be taken into consideration but child custody or visitation rights and maintenance of the spouse and the children are also issues which need to be discussed and hopefully, agreed upon by both parties.

What is the legal process of a personal separation?

Under Maltese law, two parties which wish to separate must first be brought together and an attempt at mediation and reconciliation is made. The mediator will assess whether or not reconciliation can be made and forward his report on the matter to the court. If reconciliation is not a possibility, the Notary will draft a text of the separation agreement stating who gets what and ask for a court decree which will authorize him or her to make the agreement between the two parties public.

Once this is done, the two parties are no longer legally obliged towards each other or to live together in the matrimonial home. In essence, personal separation reverts couples back into two separate legal entities with individual rights and responsibilities; if applicable, the matrimonial regime of the community of acquests is extinguished.

What are the legal actions which one can take in personal separation?

If both parties agree to an amicable personal separation, this is called a separazzjoni bonarja and while this state of affairs is ideal and will mean that the former couple will only need their pre-negotiated separation agreement to be approved by the Second Hall, Civil Court of Malta, many times when there is disagreement over the most basic aspects, the couple may end up having to go to the First Hall, Civil Court in order to settle things through litigation.