Understanding Extraordinary Expenses in the Context of Separation or Divorce

In the event of separation or divorce , the parents are obliged to pay the extraordinary expenses of the children.

But what are extraordinary expenses? When do extraordinary expenses occur? How much I have to pay? Next, we explain everything related to extraordinary expenses for children.

What are extraordinary expenses?

When a couple breaks up, they have the obligation to meet all the expenses that are necessary for the proper development and training of their children.

Parents must pay the expenses of minor children and those over 18 years of age who do not have their own income and are in a training period. However, if they are adult children, these expenses must be interpreted restrictively.

To meet these needs, expenses are generated that are ordinary and other types of expenses that may or may not arise. These unforeseeable cases are called “extraordinary expenses.”

Therefore, in the event of a breakup of the couple, it will be necessary to distinguish between ordinary and extraordinary expenses of the children .

Ordinary expenses

They are all those expenses necessary for the sustenance, housing, clothing and medical care of the children.

Ordinary expenses are predictable, periodic and essential expenses to meet the primary needs of children.

As an example, the following are ordinary expenses:

  • Children’s food.
  • Personal belongings (dress, shoes…).
  • Expenses incurred at the beginning of the school year (registration, uniform, materials, school transportation, cafeteria…).
  • Rental expenses for family housing.
  • Community expenses of owners of the family home.
  • Housing supply costs, such as electricity, water, gas or telephone, as well as the minor’s mobile phone (unless otherwise agreed).
  • Primary healthcare.
  • Expenses derived from the minor’s leisure
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All these expenses are included in the alimony .

Extraordinary expenses

They are all those that, although necessary for the upbringing and education of children, are temporary or cannot be determined when calculating alimony .

These are expenses that cannot be foreseen. Consequently, they are expenses that may or may not be incurred but are necessary for the care and development of the children.

Types of extraordinary expenses

Extraordinary expenses can be of two types:

  1. Necessary expenses. They are those that, even if they cannot be foreseen, are essential for the development and training of children. For example:
    • Medical or optional treatments not included in Social Security or private insurance, such as speech therapist, glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids, psychologist, physiotherapy or any other.
    • Emergency surgical interventions.
    • School support classes recommended by the educational center.
    • Non-basic pharmaceutical treatments with a medical prescription.
  2. Unnecessary expenses. They are those that, although they cannot be foreseen, are convenient for the development and training of children. For example:
    • Extracurricular activities (sports, languages, computers, dance…).
    • Orthodontics, unless considered necessary due to medical problems.
    • Summer courses.
    • Studies abroad.
    • Study trips.
    • Celebrations, such as birthdays or First Communion.
    • Driving license.
    • Oppositions, master’s degrees, doctorates.

In both cases, the parents must agree to carry them out .

What happens in case of disagreement over extraordinary expenses?

On many occasions, parents cannot agree on extraordinary expenses. It may happen that one of the parents does not consider it necessary to make the expense or does not consider it extraordinary.

In the event of a discrepancy regarding extraordinary expenses:

  • In general , you will have to go to the Judge who will decide on the ordinary or extraordinary nature of the expense and the need or not to carry it out. Therefore, before making an extraordinary expense, if there is no agreement between the parents, it will be necessary to obtain judicial authorization.
  • Exceptionally, only in urgent situations will a parent be able to make the decision to make the expense. Subsequently, he must reliably communicate (burofax) to the other parent the expense incurred and what it relates to. If you object to paying the extraordinary expense, the parent who incurred the expense may claim it judicially.
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Who pays the extraordinary expenses?

The extraordinary expenses of the children will be paid by both parents . Generally the payment is divided in half, 50% each parent.

However, they may agree in a regulatory agreement on a different percentage borne by each of them. They may also agree on what expenses are considered ordinary and extraordinary.

Ordinary expenses will be paid from the alimony and extraordinary expenses in the stipulated percentage. This is another of the advantages of opting for a divorce process by mutual agreement .

The Judge, depending on the financial capacity of the parents, may also agree on different payment percentages for each parent.

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