Divorcees with kids to lose right to family home once they share with a new partner

Rights change when a new partner moves in.
Rights change when a new partner moves in. / SUR
  • The Supreme Court has ruled that the ex-wife or husband must buy out the other or sell up and move when they settle down again

A father or mother who has custody of children will lose the right to live in the couple's family home when they start to share with a new, stable partner. The new legal decision from the Supreme Court says that the other parent would have the right to ask a court to annul part of the divorce settlement so the house can be sold or another arrangement made once a new partner has moved in.

The ruling applies to those situations where the former couple have children and a divorce settlement that contains shared assets from the marriage. The association of family lawyers in Spain praised the decision for "putting an end to many unfair situations", although some legal experts said it could be hard to prove when a new partner was living in a property full-time.

The decision by the top court was made after an appeal of a case in Valladolid that was sentenced locally earlier this year. Here a man complained that he was still paying for half the mortgage of the former family home despite a new partner living there.

The court pointed out that the loss of the right can only occur when the new partnership is stable and stressed that it wasn't questioning somebody's right to carry on with their life, but rather that it shouldn't be done at the expense of somebody else. It added that the same logic was being applied as in other changes made to divorce settlements when a third party became involved.

The judgment states that there is a "real possibility to stay in the property -for the children- if the mother acquires half of it or if it is sold and another property is bought."

The ex-wife of the man who brought the original case said this week that after losing the house she would have to ask for an increase in maintenance in any case from her former husband.