Back to school: How are school expenses shared between divorced parents?

Going back to school is always a complicated moment in Spanish homes. For children it means a return to routine, but in the case of parents it is a period related to great loads of stress and a lot of expense, an issue that can be further aggravated in those cases in which the family nucleus has gone through a recent divorce or separation proceedings.

In this context, Elena Arbiol, a lawyer from the Sanahuja Miranda office, recalls the importance of managing the custody of children correctly, because only in this way will their well-being be guaranteed.

“Although it may seem obvious, it is essential to put aside any possible differences in order to comply with all the established agreements and not interfere in such an important life period for a minor as the start of a school year,” says Arbiol.

Who has to bear the school expenses?

One of the biggest points of conflict in divorced couples is usually school expenses. This year, in addition, it supposes an extra effort, because with the increasing inflation the cost of materials, private classes, as well as services such as transport or canteens has increased, exceeding the total cost of the course 2,000 euros on average per student between 3 and 18 years, according to the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU).

“Until Supreme Court ruling 579/2014, education expenses were considered extraordinary, so they had to be assumed equally (50%) by both parents. However, now, in accordance with the recent jurisprudence of the high court, school and education expenses are typified as ordinary expenses, incorporating the enrollment of the course and the monthly fee of the center to the maintenance that must be paid by the parent who does not has custody”, reveals the lawyer.

For its part, with regard to private classes and extracurricular activities, the situation is different. In the first case, they will only be included in the ordinary expenses if they are activities that the minor is doing at the time of the break or fixing the food, or in those cases that are necessary and periodic activities while, for new private classes and extracurricular activities, an agreement must be reached between the parties for their realization.

“If some type of problem arose and one of the parties refused to pay the amount related to these activities outside the classroom,” continues the expert, “the fastest solution would be for the other parent to assume the payment in full and initiate a judicial procedure to claim the money, if it were a necessary activity, otherwise, the parent who agrees to carry out the activity must assume its full cost.

The importance of good communication

Regardless of the legal issues, the best remedy to ensure that the start of a child’s school year runs smoothly is for parents to work in an organized and coordinated manner, establishing a routine and schedule to follow and sharing information about the day-to-day of children.

“A systematic lack of agreement in decision-making in relation to the minor’s education can lead to unnecessary judicialization of conflicts, which is why it is so important to guarantee good communication between the parties that puts the well-being of the minor at the center” , concludes Sanahuja Miranda’s lawyer.

Back to school: How are school expenses shared between divorced parents?