Family Law – Marriage Crisis/Economic Crisis

By Reyes Gomez Llorente- Lawyer with De Cotta McKenna y Santafé When a marriage ends, it has a number of effects on the lives of the entire family. Firstly, there is the
effect on relationships; the physical separation of couple, and if they are parents with children, this will mean that the children will be deprived of living with one of the parents, who will only be granted visitation rights. Secondly, all marital breakdowns affect the household economy negatively. From the moment the parents live apart, there is a need for new housing for one of the parents that no longer has access to the family home. In addition, in most cases, maintenance must be paid to the parent caring for the child. This means that in most cases (excluding the minority of families that have more than one dwelling, and a high income) the separated couple can face serious financial
hardship, especially the parent paying maintenance for the child or children.
It is normal that the family home, which usually belongs to both spouses, has a mortgage. Following separation or divorce, the use of this family residence is normally awarded to one parent, whilst common ownership is maintained, pending a settlement of the entire estate of the couple. Until there is such a settlement, both parents are obliged to share the joint expenses. So in short, unless a judge orders otherwise, both spouses would be required to pay the mortgage. It is a very common situation as a result of marital breakdown, one parent (mostly the husband), is in the position of having to procure a home and pay for it, pay a pension to the children and also help pay the
mortgage on the family home.
Without wanting to discuss at this time the justice or injustice of these types of situations, the truth is that it is a widespread reality, and a consequence of the legal system, that means that marital breakdowns can lead to economic problems for the separated couple. The judge is attempting to protect the best interests of children whilst dealing with the complexities of a shared estate. It is advisable that joint assets such as the family home, should be sold and liquidated as soon as the couple divorce, as then the situation can be dealt with more equally with the couple and also this can minimise the economic impact of only one parent having access to the family home, (normally
the mother) and the other parent having greater disposable income (usually the father). The courts will try and balance these issues when considering the maintenance payable for the children.
Although traditionally, the family home would not be sold if the children were under age, nowadays, it is more common for the courts to encourage the parents to liquidate assets as soon as possible, unless otherwise agreed between the parties. This is a more practical and fair solution and can reduce the economic impact of divorce. Yet the reality is, it is very difficult to sell a home at the moment and many couples are being forced to carry the additional burden of a family home and a secondary home.
If you wish more information on this particular topic or would like to discuss any matter raised therein, contact Rob Westwater or Reyes Gomez Llorente, De Cotta McKenna y Santafe, on 952 527 014. Offices in Mijas Costa, Coín, Nerja, Granada and Tenerife.
De Cotta McKenna y Santafé
Calle Diputación, 6-2º-A
29780 Nerja, Málaga, España
Tel.: (+34) 952 52 70 14 Fax: (+34) 952 52 34 28
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