Alimony is a tool for the spouse most economically weakened as a result of separation or divorce, so that their economic status does not change radicallyfollowing the break-up.The purpose of alimony is to rebalance the economic situation of the spouses.
It is essential to understand that alimony does not pursue that spouses are fully matched in income and economic level. It aims at rebalancing the situation after divorce by means of a compensation.
Alimony is regulated in article 97 of the Spanish Civil Code, and complementary in art. 100 and 101. It may be granted to any of the spouses as long as there is imbalance. It is important to note that the approval is not automatic, and it needs to be expressly claimed and be eligible.
Without economic imbalance, there is no alimony. Is alimony temporary or everlasting?
Alimony is approved as long as there is an imbalance which affects one of the spouses on account of divorce or separation. The said imbalance, which is a requirement for alimony, may be temporary or everlasting. This will be taken into account to set the duration of alimony.
It should be emphasized that alimony shall be approved only during the time it is deemed necessary for the receiving spouse to find new opportunities (primarily employment) which would allow them to correct the said imbalance.
Recent ruling from the Spanish Supreme Court of 11 May 2016 deems as key requirement “the suitability or fitness of the beneficiary to overcome economic imbalance in a specific time”, understanding that it is not necessary to approve lifetime alimony if the imbalance is highly likely to be overcome by the beneficiary.
How is alimony quantified following divorce? First, the divorce agreement must be taken into account.
The Supreme Court has ruled that alimony is first governed by the agreement entered into between the parties. It is governed by the principle that allows the parties to enter into any agreements as long as they are not contrary to good faith. Failure to reach an agreement will result in taking into consideration the circumstances referred to in article 97 of the Spanish Civil Code.
- Income and assets of each party
- Expenses and needs of each party
- Possibility of access to employment and professional qualification
- Duration of the marriage
- Past and future family commitment
The next weekly continues with the second part