A recent change to the Spanish divorce law promises to change the moral code of divorced mothers. It is common for the divorcee with custody of minor children of the marriage to reside in the former family home with the children; it is also not unheard of for the new partner of the mother to move into the former matrimonial home once the relationship has been established. However a new ruling from the Spanish Supreme Court has stated that if a divorcee wishes to install their new partner in the former family home it changes the nature of the "family character" of the property and the divorcee (even those with children under the age of majority living with them) no longer has the right to live in the former family home, unless the person buys out their former partner's interest in the property.

The principle of this ruling is that the house is changed in character by the entry of a third party with no connection to the family and therefore invalidating the divorced incumbent's right to live there. The Plenary of the Civil Chamber of the Supreme Court recognises that "the entry of a third party" into the former family home removes the "family character" of the property and further stated "the introduction of a third person makes the home lose its former nature by serving a different person and different family in its use"

This new ruling has the potential to exclusively restore the right to live in the matrimonial home to the former spouse who remains unattached in so far as they have not established a new relationship that involves cohabitation. The court does not seek to impinge on personal freedom and is not suggesting that a person may not establish a new relationship following their divorce, just that the person living in the former matrimonial home may not invite a new partner to share the family home as such an act fundamentally alters the status of the property, which, in turn, invalidates the right of the parent and minor children to reside in the property as it no longer fulfils the category of family home.

The new law opens the door for the non-resident parent to challenge their former partner and either gain access to the former family home themselves or the buy-out value of half the property.

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