The Spanish Courts are closed to the public now due to the pandemic covid-19. Court proceedings and deadlines have been stayed. Court hearings have been adjourned.
Although some urgent cases can still be dealt with at Court. In the Spanish Royal Decree 463/2020 regarding the special measures amid the pandemic and the lockdown order, it is considered as urgent matter the parents disputes about children arrangements of article 158 of the Spanish Civil Code.
Divorced parents must comply with the Spanish Court orders regarding their children arrangements, despite this Covid-19 crisis.
The Family Judges main recommendation is to achieve out of court agreements between the parents during these extraordinary circumstances, eventually with the help of their respective lawyers or mediation. Likewise, parents may temporarily modify, for the benefit of their minor children, the custody times of each parent, in attention to the special labour circumstances that they have in these moments one or both parents or for the sake of reducing the number of displacements to be made by their children, etc.
There is not a nationwide regulation by the Spanish Judicial Power or Ministry of Justice regarding children arrangements during Covid-19.
Most Family Courts have published their own recommendations, which differs slightly from each other. You must check every Family Court recommendation, but there are three main regulations:
- Parents must abide the children arrangements as before the pandemic
It is the main recommendation of most Family Courts, such as Barcelona, Marbella, Palmas de Gran Canaria, Murcia, Cádiz, Valencia, Sevilla, Elche, Granada, Girona, Sabadel, Pamplona,Albacete, …
- Joint custody must be fulfilled but the right of access is cancelled until the end of the state of alarm: Courts of Alicante, Orihuela, Castellón, Salamanca.
- Children arrangements are temporarily modified into sole custody in favor of the parent who was taking care of the children when lockdown, to avoid any risk to their health. Afterwards the other parent can be compensated for the time he/she has been deprived of their children´s company. Courts of Málaga and Torremolinos.
The copy of the Court Order that regulates the children arrangements will be sufficient title to prove before the Forces and State Security Corps that the children´s displacement is justified.
The right of access that are developed with intervention of the Family Meeting Points, are suspended during the lockdown.
Most Courts recommend the suspension of the right of access during the week without overnight and when there is quite a long distance between the parent´s residences.
Parents disputes at Court about children arrangements during Covid-19:
The scope of the voluntary jurisdiction procedures of art.158 of the Civil Code, should be reserved for situations of real and serious risk for minors, out of which they will not be admitted to process. Parental responsibility is encouraged at times like the current one, avoiding to collapse the Courts with banal petitions that can be solved in the family environment or through their legal counsels.
Courts Hearings and deadlines are stayed during lockdown.
The Courts will fix a new date for the Court hearings that had been adjourned due to Covid-19, when the state of alarm finishes in Spain.
Expert in International Family Law