Recently we have had clients approach us regarding changing separation and divorce agreements. Post (or during) Covid-19, a lot of things have changed. Unfortunately the “new normal” means reduced circumstances for many. Perhaps a job loss, a reduction in salary, it can be all manner of things. Thus for a divorce or separation, what was agreed in the past regarding maintenance for a children may not work now.
So, what can be done?
Usually, an agreement has been made to cover the separation or divorce in Spain. When there are children (and this is really what this article is about) a maintenance payment has to be paid. This is until they are full of age or finish their education. These agreements in Spain might cover the general financial position and the children. Or there may only be an agreement for the children as they are the priority.
Separation and Divorce Agreements for Children
These agreements can either be private, so just a document drawn up and signed by both. Or done properly and the document registered through the Courts.
Changing Separation and Divorce Agreements Made Privately
This would be a case of either agreeing it between you if very amicable and drawing up a new agreement referring to the old one. Or asking a solicitor to contact the other party to inform them that your economic circumstances have changed. And suggesting a revised amount. It is not possible to just stop paying or miss an agreed payment.
However if done privately, as long as a letter has been sent in a proper way (so recorded) first saying maintenance payments will be reduced and why, then you could start reduced payments immediately.The other party will either accept this is for a good reason or may disagree. Then it is possible that they decide to take it to Court for a Judge to review. Or negotiate
with you. In either instance you will need a lawyer.
Separation or Divorce Agreements Made through the Courts
If your separation or divorce agreement was made in Court, then changing it is a bit more complicated. A Judge has made an Order, so you cannot change the amount being paid straightaway as per the agreement. Not without a new Order from the Judge. You will be obliged to make the same payment until a new Court hearing takes place (so it is best to contact a lawyer straight away). Although if the other party is in agreement you could revise your payments pending the case being held with their consent.
Changing separation and Divorce Agreements is possible owing to changed circumstances. Of course it is, and in these difficult times with a pandemic,
even more so now. We would recommend taking legal advice on your particular situation as soon as possible so that you are not forced to pay more than you can afford. We can also help with divorce and dissolution of joint ownership of property if need be.