Malta’s first divorce

The country legalized it earlier this year (leaving The Philippines and The Vatican as the only states on earth where divorce remains illegal), and a long-separated couple became the first beneficiaries:

A couple who has been living apart for over two decades made legal history yesterday when the Maltese court granted the first divorce under a law than came into force this month.

The couple, who was legally separated, had filed a joint application in the Family Court requesting divorce after legislation was introduced in the country following a referendum.

Madame Justice Abigail Lofaro noted that the couple had been living apart for 21 years since their separation. Their children were now adults, so there were no issues over the payment of maintenance.

Furthermore, the couple agreed there would be no reconciliation. Given this scenario, the court declared the couple divorced and gave the court registrar a month to inform the director of the Public Registry about the decree so that the divorce could be registered.

The court also upheld the woman’s request to revert back to her maiden surname.

It still isn’t too easy to dissolve your marriage in Malta, though.  Canadian couples have to live separate and apart for one year before they can get divorce, except where the marriage breakdown was caused by adultery or cruelty.  In Malta, the parties must be separated for four of the previous five years.

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