Alimony is the amount of money paid by one spouse to the economically weaker spouse as a result of separation or divorce in Spain. In Spain, courts generally award alimony only if one of the spouses is clearly economically disadvantaged by the divorce. A typical example would be when one spouse has given up his or her career to take care of the children. This is done in order to rebalance the couple’s economic situation as a result of the failure of the marriage. However, if there is no economic imbalance or damage, alimony will not be necessary.
The amount to be paid is variable and established by agreement between the parties. In the absence of an agreement, it will be established by the corresponding Family Court. The awards usually vary between 15% and 40% of the wage that the spouse with the higher income receives. As for its duration, it can be indefinite in time, with a fixed time limit, or a lump sum.
There are two conditions the spouse claiming the payment and the imbalance has to provide in order to get it awarded:
- prove that they are in a worse financial situation than before the breakdown of the marriage
- provide evidence that they are in a worse economic situation than the other spouse
The absence of either of the two conditions may result in the court’s refusal to award the alimony.
Deciding if alimony is awarded or not, the Supreme Court considers the following aspects:
- how long the marriage lasted
- possible future needs of the child
- work and professional condition
- the ability to go back to work
- health and likely recuperation
- dedication to home and children
- age of the disadvantaged spouse
Written in collaboration with Natalie Efiamarho