Divorce in Spain

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How might a new relationship affect alimony and child maintenance?

Where a person receiving alimony payments remarries or lives with another person in a matrimonial relationship, the cause that gave rise to the alimony ceases as does the right to receive alimony payments. It is not necessary that there is cohabitation but that there is a sentimental relationship.

The fact that the custodial parent enters into a relationship with a person other than the non-custodial parent does not affect the responsibility that the non-custodial parent has towards their children.

What rights and responsibilities do unmarried spouses have?

A distinction should be made between those purely ‘economic’ matters and those which have to do with child custody and maintenance or visitation rights which impact on public order and are consequently handled differently.

Most regions recognize the ability of an unmarried couple to agree as to the economic impact of any future separation though some regions insist that the agreement be made in public and witnessed by a notary in order for them to have any effect.

In the absence of an agreement the courts tend to impute a desire to remain economically independent, based on their decision to not marry. This means of course that there should be no continuing economic liability  between the couple, once separated.

General principles of law apply such that one should not be unjustly enriched at the expense of another which may impact on the distribution of common assets.

Regarding matters such as child custody, visitation rights, use of the shared home and payment of child maintenance the courts have tended to replicate the law applicable to married couples. Such matters can be agreed by mutual accord and if not, a petition may be made to the court for an order ‘de medidas paterno-filiales’ such that the court make a direction in respect of those issues.

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