In Spain, once an court ruling is final, it cannot be modified, not even by the judge him or herself. However, in the case of Family Law, the courts rule based on specific circumstances and events: parents’ income, age of the minors, etc.

When these circumstances change, either one of the parents can request a modification of the arrangement stating the particular circumstance which is now different and which measures within the arrangement he or she wishes to modify.

This is a common procedure used to request decreases in child maintenance or to introduce changes to the custody arrangement, from sole custody (which will usually be granted to the mother) to shared custody, where both parents divide their time with the children equally, and therefore no children maintenance allowance is required.

This procedure is also useful to request modifications be made to arrangements in order to request that spousal allowance be cancelled, extend contact orders or, modify any of the measures contained in the divorce decree, parental responsibility measures or even in a previous modification of arrangement decree.



If you believe that the circumstances in which the divorce decree absolute was granted have changed substantially, or the parental responsibility measures if you and your partner were never formally married, you can apply for a procedure to modify the arrangements made.

It is important to understand, however, that if the circumstances have not significantly and substantially changed it is not feasible to request a modification to the arrangement. Even though you may deem that the grounds for applying are legal and even beneficial for your children, the judge is obligated to dismiss the request.

The best course of action, in any case, in to reach an agreement with the other party, as parents can freely change the terms of their arrangements insofar as it does not harm the children. However, if a negotiation is not possible and grounds for requesting that the arrangement be modify exist, you should not accept an unfair situation and apply for the procedure.




When I got divorced, I worked for a big multinational company and had a much higher income than I do now. I’ve done everything I can to keep up payments of my children’s allowance, but the truth is I am struggling with paying all the bills. Now I am faced with the risk of not being able to pay my child maintenance and be guilty of a crime.


When my wife and I separated, I travelled abroad a lot for work. Even though I wanted it, shared custody was impossible at the time. Now I have been promoted and I barely have to travel anymore, which is why I wish to request shared custody.


My wife got sole custody of the children in our divorce, but ever since they live with her their school performance has dropped, they are generally neglected and they want to spend less time with me because their mother turns them against me. I think it is essential that we change to shared custody so I can contribute to their overall stability.


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