Spanish millennial loses case to force parents to pay for his upkeep

It is a ruling that will strike fear in the hearts of grown up kids across Spain.

Spanish millennial loses case to force parents to pay for his upkeep
Photo: kryzhov/Depositphotos

 A 24-year-old from Catalonia who sued his divorced parents after they refused to keep supporting him financially, lost his case because a judge ruled “relatives cannot be expected to maintain the illusions or expectations” of someone who is an adult.

In a ruling made public on Thursday by the appellate court in Barcelona, the man who has not been named was told that he “must accept the responsibilities that come with his decisions”.

The man had argued that his parents should cover his food expenses after he decided to return to college to study.

The court heard that when his parents separated, the then teenager spent time in both his parents homes and on turning 18 he had received a study scholarship to pursue a vocational course but had spent the money on a tattoo.

When his own parents insisted he should consider his career options more seriously, the young man moved in with his paternal grandparents who have supported him since.

But the man argued that now that he had decided to return to his studies, his parents and not his grandparents should shoulder the cost.

Under Spanish law, parents are not automatically absolved of legal obligation to support their offspring beyond the age of 18 but are expected to do so if they are unable to support themselves during full time study or while jobseeking, providing they can prove that they are incapable of supporting themselves.

But the legal obligations are a grey area that can be decided by a court on a case by case basis. 

But in this case, the judge ruled that the man “had not proved attempts to adapt his lifestyle to his own [financial] situation, nor is it evident that he has done everything possible to cover his own needs like an adult person,” reads the ruling.

Spaniards are among the latest in Europe to fly the nest. Recent data reveals that the average age of emancipation in Spain is 29 years-old, meaning young people spend an entire decade more living under their parents roofs than their counterparts in Sweden (which at 19 years, has the lowest age of emancipation within the European Union).

Only in Malta (31.1 years), Italy (30.1 years) and Greece (29.4 years) do parents have to put up with their offspring for longer.

A prolonged economic crisis and an unemployment rate reaching 26 percent at its peak – and almost 50 percent youth unemployment – has made it difficult for young people to find financial independence and a place of their own.

READ ALSO:  80 percent of Spaniards aged under 30 still live at home

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Denmark’s finance minister to take ten weeks’ paternity leave

Denmark's Finance Minister, Nicolai Wammen, has announced that he will go on parental leave for ten weeks this summer, writing on Facebook that he was "looking forward to spending time with the little boy."

Denmark's finance minister to take ten weeks' paternity leave

Wammen said he would be off work between June 5th and August 13th, with Morten Bødskov, the country’s business minister standing in for him in his absence.

“On June 5th I will go on parental leave with Frederik, and I am really looking forward to spending time with the little boy,” Wammen said in the post announcing his decision, alongside a photograph of himself together with his son, who was born in November.

Denmark’s government last March brought in a new law bringing in 11 weeks’ use-it-or-lose-it parental leave for each parent in the hope of encouraging more men to take longer parental leave. Wammen is taking 9 weeks and 6 days over the summer. 

The new law means that Denmark has met the deadline for complying with an EU directive requiring member states earmark nine weeks of statutory parental leave for fathers.

This is the second time Bødskov has substituted for Wammen, with the minister standing in for him as acting Minister of Taxation between December 2020 and February 2021. 

“My parental leave with Christian was quite simply one of the best decisions in my life and I’m looking forward to having the same experience with Frederik,” Wammen wrote on Facebook in November alongside a picture of him together with his son.

Male politicians in Denmark have tended to take considerably shorter periods of parental leave than their female colleagues. 

Minister of Employment and Minister for Equality Peter Hummelgaard went on parental leave for 8 weeks and 6 days in 2021. Mattias Tesfaye took one and a half months away from his position as Denmark’s immigration minister in 2020. Troels Lund Poulsen – now acting defence minister – took three weeks away from the parliament took look after his new child in 2020. Education minister Morten Østergaard took two weeks off in 2012.