Divorce and finance can be difficult matters, more so when dependant children are involved but do not despair, the Spanish legal system is sympathetic and fair if approached in the right way. The most important thing to consider if you are divorcing with children in Spain is, how the calculation of the amount for child maintenance is made. This article sets out how that calculation is made.
In the case of an amicable divorce where both parties agree how much they are each going to contribute to the children’s support, the judge simply has to approve the amount agreed. In the event of sole custody, there is a legal minimum of around 200 euros per month for each child and the Judge cannot allow a lower amount.
If no agreement has been reached when a petition of divorce is submitted, the Judge will fix the child maintenance according to the following criteria:
- Income of both parents
- Number of children
- Living requirements of the children (food, clothes, schooling, housing, etc)
- City/region of residence
- Special needs of the children (disability, special medical needs)
- Costs and expenses of both parents (mortgages, loans, rentals…)
This criteria will help the court to analyse each case specifically taking into account the circumstances of each parent to allow the judge to calculate and award a monthly payment which is fair to all parties. To assist them in this complex calculation, Judges use an online child maintenance calculator from the General Authority of Judges. The calculation is not binding on Judge as circumstances nearly always vary, however it can also be used as a reference for lawyers to ascertain the amount that can be claimed at court.
In cases of sole custody, the parent who does not have custody pays the child maintenance. In cases of shared custody, in addition to the above procedure for calculation, the amount is awarded on the principle of more time with children means less money is paid or less time with children /pay more money basis.
Calculating Child Maintenance
Child maintenance is calculated as a living cost and does not include extraordinary expenses such as presents, holidays, extra school activities or medical assistance not covered by Social Security. These expenses should be agreed by the parents because unlike the living award they are not the subject of legal enforcement.
Child maintenance in Spain has to be paid until children are over the age of 18 years or until they become financially independent.
The above is a simple explanation of a complex and often difficult subject. As mentioned things are different in every case, which is why it is important that you seek legal advice specific to your circumstances. Here at My Lawyer In Spain we offer a free introductory 30-minute interview where myself or one of my colleagues will be happy to review your circumstance and advise you on the best way forward.
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