A draft bill, which would entail changes to the 1981 Civil Code, would do away with the obligatory requirement of previous separation and essentially allow for no-fault divorce.
According to press leaks, the text establishes the possibility that the father and mother share the living arrangements and daily care of the children, so that custody will no longer be awarded to only one of the spouses.
The measure, which could come into force next summer, also provides for the possibility of starting divorce proceedings three months after the wedding, rather than one year after, under the current law.
The Spanish episcopate in a statement said that the government's measure, conceived despite "the very serious social problem of the permanent increase of the number of marital ruptures and of the personal dramas that accompany them," will bring "more divorces and more suffering."
"The law," the bishops explained, "does not start from a good anthropological conception of marriage as a fundamental social institution, but rather from an individualist ideology that reduces it to a mere contract between private individuals."