Arrangements for Children – Custody, Visits and maintenance

Filed under : Family Law

AWe have an international community in many parts of Spain and there is an increasing need to ensure any arrangements made for children benefit the child and are workable. This is particularly important where parents live in different countries or may move in the future for work or other reasons.

We have seen a number of convenios – agreements on child matters – that don´t take account of the needs of the children to spend time with each parent or, of the parent’s need to work and in some cases to travel. Sometimes one of the parents has not had good legal advice and has signed a convenio not appreciating that there are no default or fall back provisions if a disagreement arises in the future or there is a change in circumstances.

To alter arrangements which have been approved by the court there must be a very good reason. The court will want to see how the circumstances have changed; that the change is lasting and permanent; the changes have not been brought about exclusively by one parent with the aim of seeking modification and finally that the circumstances were unforeseeable at the time the original convenio was signed.

That is why it is very important to get independent legal advice before signing an agreement on child matters. For example, we include a provision that states if either parent wishes to move to another country, whether returning to their original country or moving abroad for work, the couple agree to modify the arrangement.

Many applications to modify orders relate to the payment of maintenance. Each case will be considered on its merits and evidence needs to be shown that employment has been lost or a parent needs to return to their country of origin for financial reasons. The courts are adamant that the birth of children in a new relationship does not automatically allow existing maintenance arrangements to be changed without financial evidence being provided.

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