Expatica news

Disabled father has to pay for adult son’s studies

19 January 2004

BARCELONA – A judge has ordered a father to pay a quarter of his disability pension to support his 25-year-old graduate son, it was reported Monday.

The son is doing unpaid work and may want to go back to university.

The decision by a court in Salou in eastern Spain is based on a belief that childhood, or at least a parent’s duty to support children, continues well into the 20s – especially for students.

Francisco Sánchez has to keep paying EUR 225 (GBP 155) a month to allow his son to live at his ex-wife’s home while the engineering graduate does work experience and considers further studies, Barcelona’s La Vanguardia newspaper reported.

Mr Sánchez, 48, receives a disability pension of EUR980 a month after having a heart attack last year.

He already pays EUR 225 a month for another, younger, son, who also lives with the mother.

The judge ruled that the 25-year-old was “not at such an advanced age for finishing his academic studies” and had “not yet gained his own financial independence”.

Mr Sánchez said he would appeal against the decision, but would keep paying in the meantime to allow his ex-wife to feed, clothe and house a son he had not seen for several years.

Last year, another divorced Spanish father forced to pay for the upkeep of two grown-up sons, aged 23 and 27, was taken to court by one son who wanted him banned from complaining about them in public.

Ignasi Puente, a fireman from the town of Lleida in northeast Spain, had paid for the 23-year-old’s upkeep while he studied first to be a lawyer and then to become a notary – one of the country’s best-paid jobs. The eldest son had reached 27 without completing his studies.

The gagging order was refused but Puente had to keep paying for their upkeep. “When is a father allowed to stop supporting his children?” he asked after the court case.

Spanish parents are increasingly being forced to look after their adult children who take longer to leave home.

Fifteen years ago, the average young Spanish man stayed at home until the age of 28. That figure has now risen to 30.

Women leave slightly earlier at 28, up from 26 in 1989, often to marry or set up home with their partners.

Some parents have managed to persuade the courts to evict children in a bid for what has been billed “parental emancipation”.

Maria and Mariano Gimenez convinced a judge in Zaragoza, central Spain, that their two sons, 20 and 18, had forfeited their right to live at home after treating them abusively.

But the couple’s lawyer, David Arbues, warned that eviction was not generally an option.

“The law establishes that the parents’ obligation to feed and house can only be suppressed under extreme circumstances,” he said.

That obligation, enshrined in law, only disappears when a child moves out or starts earning their own money.

[Copyright Expatica News]

Subject: Spanish news