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Court rejects Spanish man’s claim that parents should keep supporting him

A 24-year-old has sued his divorced mother and father for financial aid, six years after moving out of the family home

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A scene from 'Fight Club' 'by Chuck Palahniuk.

Moving out of the family home has proven to be an irreversible decision for a young man from Spain who recently sued his parents, claiming they owed him financial support.

Six years after leaving the family home, the 24-year-old told the judge that his divorced parents should pay for his upkeep because he had decided to go back to school and could not work to support himself.

The young man “must accept the responsibilities that come with his decisions”

But an appellate court in Barcelona has rejected the claim, noting that the young man “must accept the responsibilities that come with his decisions.”

After turning 18 and moving out, he also ceased to be under the unconditional protection of his parents, and his recent decision to start studying should take into account “his own chances of balancing these studies with the work necessary for his own upkeep,” said the ruling.

When his parents split up when he was still underage, he lived with both in their respective homes.

By the time he turned 18, he was not studying anything despite having signed up for a vocational training course; he did not have a job, either, and the money he received from a study scholarship was spent on a tattoo.

When his father insisted that he should either show more of an interest in his studies, or get a job, the young man decided to move in with his paternal grandparents.

Relatives cannot be expected to “maintain the hopes or expectations” of an adult

The lower court that first considered his demands found that the youth had signed up as a job seeker just a few days before the hearing, and that he was enrolled in a business administration course that included an internship at a company.

At the hearing, the young man said his parents should cover his food expenses because he was studying, and his grandparents should not put up with that cost.

But both the lower and the appellate court agreed that relatives, no matter how close of kin, cannot be expected to “maintain the hopes or expectations” of someone who is an adult.

There are numerous cases of parents who have asked a judge to legally release them of the obligation to support a child who is over 18. The obligation to provide a “pensión de alimentación” (money for food) does not necessarily end when a minor turns 18. The courts take a case-by-case approach, and consider circumstances such as whether the youth is studying in earnest.

In this case, it was unclear to the judges whether the young man had actively looked for work, or was earning money from his internships. “He did not prove that he has tried to adapt his lifestyle to his own [financial] possibilities, nor is it evident that he has done everything possible to cover his own needs like an adult person,” reads the ruling.

English version by Susana Urra.

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