Spanish courts challenge law that forces parents to provide financial support to their unemployed adult children

The vast majority of young adults in Spain live with their parents 

Will Worley
Monday 06 June 2016 20:57
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Spanish parents fought a civil code forcing them to support their adult offspring
Spanish parents fought a civil code forcing them to support their adult offspring

In a victory for parents struggling to support burdensome adult children, Spanish courts have upheld appeals against a civil code requiring divorced parents to support their grown-up offspring.

Known as Ninis, from ni estudia ni trabaja (not studying or in work), some older children in Spain lived extensively off their parents for many years while not studying or searching for a job. As people attempting to claim benefits in Spain must have worked for at least six months, many Ninis are not entitled to them, leaving the burden on their parents.

The country has the second-highest youth unemployment rate in Europe at 45 per cent, second only to Greece. Like Greece, Spain has been hard-hit by the financial crisis and eighty per cent of Spaniards under 30 still live with their parents.

According to La Tribuna de Toledo, 19.4 per cent of 15 to 29-year-olds fit this category, amounting to one in every five young people. In contrast, the rate of this demographic in the UK – known as Neets (Not in Employment, Education or Training) – was 12 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics.

“The economic crisis has undoubtedly led to a rise in what are known as ‘parasite children’ who are happy to live off their parents,” said María Dolores Lozano, president of the Association of Family Lawyers, to The Times.

She added: “There is a generation of young people who see no problem with living off their mothers and fathers without making any effort to live independently. Some of these parents are being exploited and abused.”

In May, in Girona, the father of an 18-year-old boy who had made no attempt to find work or training won the right to give reduced funding for food.

“He did nothing to help his mother and only did occasional jobs so he could finance his whims,” said a judge, the newspaper reported. “The father should not have to pay for a child who made no attempt to finish his studies or find work.”

In the same month, in Pontevedra, a court upheld a father’s case to stop financially supporting his 24-year-old son, who had only worked on 40 days since 2009, when he left school. In addition to two training courses he took, he only showed 20 hours of dedication to work or study, according to the Spanish La Vanguardia newspaper.

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