7 Mar, 2023 @ 17:07
1 min read

Judge in Spain’s Malaga puts a price on a woman’s work

Love Gets Toxic In Divorce Boom

A JUDGE in Malaga has just answered a question that all parents will have asked themselves at one time or another: how much money are my childcare efforts worth? 

The answer: €204,000. Or at least that is how much a man will have to pay his ex-wife for the domestic duties she carried out during their 25-year marriage. 

The details of the case date back to 1995, when the couple got married. They did so under Spain’s separacion de bienes regime, which means that if they were to split, each one would only have a right to their own assets. 

During the marriage, the couple had two daughters. The wife stayed at home to take care of their children and the home, while the husband developed a successful business career. 

‘She was his shadow, working in the background so that he could grow professionally and become something,’ her lawyer, Marta Fuentes, told Spanish daily El Pais. 

In 2020, the wife became tired of the situation. By that point, her husband had amassed assets that included olive groves, luxury cars and real estate. 

Under the terms of the seperacion de bienes, she was only due half of a property that they owned together, while he was set to keep all of his wealth. 

As a result she filed a lawsuit in December of that same year to seek compensation for the work she had carried out in the home over their 25-year marriage. 

The judge has now ruled in her favour, not only obliging the husband to pay her the €204,000 sum, but also a €500-a-month pension for the next two years, as well as similar monthly amounts for their daughters. 

The judge based the ruling on article 1,438 of Spain’s Civil Code, which states that spouses ‘shall contribute to the support of the expenses of the marriage’. It continues: ‘Work in the home will be computed as a contribution to the expenses and will give the right to obtain compensation that the judge will indicate, in the absence of an agreement’, in the case of divorce.

‘It’s a little-used and even less-appreciated article,’ said lawyer Marta Fuentes. ‘But the aim is to normalise it.’

The ruling comes after a similar sentence passed in February in Galicia, and which saw the Provincial Court in Pontevedra order a man to pay his ex-wife €34,980 in compensation for the 34 years she dedicated to their household and raising their children.

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Simon Hunter

Simon Hunter has been living in Madrid since the year 2000 and has worked as a journalist and translator practically since he arrived. For 16 years he was at the English Edition of Spanish daily EL PAÍS, editing the site from 2014 to 2022, and is currently one of the Spain reporters at The Times. He is also a voice actor, and can be heard telling passengers to "mind the gap" on Spain's AVLO high-speed trains.

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