Child visitation rights for divorced parents who live in different countries

Cases involving a divorce between a Spaniard and a foreigner in Spain can cause a series of specific complications: on top of the usual conflicts involved in the dissolution of the marriage, there is the added challenge of the international aspect and long distances involved. What happens when two former spouses with children in common live in different countries? Are there mechanisms or guarantees to ensure that the parents can visit their children and spend the holidays with them?
The first thing that must be kept in mind is that Spanish law currently has no rules that provide for the specific circumstance of distance or residence in other countries. Thus, we can refer to Supreme Court case law in order to learn about existing precedents when regulating the application of visitation rights (article 94 of the Civil Code) in cases in which a parent lives in a foreign country.
In general, the Supreme Court’s decisions seek to find solutions adapted to the specific circumstances (among others, availability, financial resources and distances to be overcome) involved in each case, in order to assign responsibility for the expenses and journeys required to enforce visitation rights without neglecting the child’s bests interests and the equitable distribution of the burdens involved.
In this sense, one of the most interesting decisions is the recent 301/2017. It was the first time that the Supreme Court explicitly granted the parent living abroad, in this case the father, the power to choose whether the visit would take place in his current country of residence (the United States) or in Spain.
Another interesting fact is that court authorization was granted for the girl to make the trip on her own, using the assistance services offered by airlines. In addition, considering the particulars of this trip, the visitation period was extended to one month and three weeks in the summer.
At ICN LEGAL, we keep up to date on legal news related to divorce cases between a Spaniard and a foreigner in Spain. If you have trouble agreeing on a fair visitation schedule, we’re prepared to advise you regarding your situation based on essential analysis of the specific circumstances affecting you.

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