When two people decide to separate, regardless of whether they were married or not, the main source of conflict tends to be child custody. In Spain, custody can be granted to a single parent or to both, in which case it is known as shared custody.

Shared custody means that both parents spend an equal amount of time with their children. Therefore, parents are not obliged to pay child maintenance to the other as they will be taking care of child-related expenses when the children stay with them.

The Supreme Court in Spain has declared that shared custody is the preferred modality, as it allows children to spend the same amount of time with either parents and can therefore have a positive impact on the parent-child bond.

Here at Patón & Asociados we are firm supporters of shared custody, as we believe it is the most beneficial custody arrangement for the children. Furthermore, we are also convinced it is best for the parents, since they are both frequently in contact with their children and also have enough free time to re-do their lives with complete financial independence, as they are not burdened with the additional expense of having to pay for child maintenance.



When two people are thinking of separating or getting a divorce, it is important to keep in mind that only the relationships between the adults will be broken. However, the ties between parent and child remain unsevered. Whenever possible, parents should try to arrange shared custody of the children, unless there are major obstacles: work or travel schedules, if one of the parents suffers from mental illness, etc.

The most common arrangement in shared custody cases is one week at one parent’s house, then another week at the other’s. Usually, the child will spend one day with the parent it is not living with that week. Each parent has to face any expenses arising from child care while their children are with them, so usually no child maintenance is ordered.

However, if one of the parents has sole custody, the other parent will have a right to visit the children and will be obliged to pay child maintenance to the prime care-giver.




My wife and I are separating and she doesn’t want shared custody. She says that with sole custody, I will have to pay her child maintenance and she will get to live in our house. I don’t think this is the best arrangement for our children, so I will fight tooth and nail to try to get shared custody.


My sons are still very young, but I’ve spent more time taking care of them because their mother works longer hours than I do. Now that we are separating, I want to continue taking care of them but I also want their mother to. I want my sons to feel like they still have a mother and a father around all the time. I want shared custody.


When we got divorced, my wife was granted sole custody because our children were very young and the judge thought it was best if they remained with their mother. Now they are 6 and I think it’s better if they spend the same amount of time with me as they do with their mother, so I’m going to request that the courts grant a modification of the divorce decree so that I can get shared custody.


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